HAWKS MAKE A RETURN TO 1A STATE PLAYOFFS
SH disposes of Eagles, caps 8-1 regular season
JEWELL — It was just before the start of the 2015 season that then rookie South Hamilton head football coach Corey Klemp sat down and scribbled down his goals for the program he’d just inherited.
Klemp knew some lumps were coming, but he also knew there was potential. So when he got to Year 3 he wrote down a prediction: a 7-2 regular season record.
Pretty Prophetic? Yep. But he’s certainly glad he was off the mark slightly.
“I was real nervous all week that I had jinxed us,” Klemp said with a laugh.
Tenth-ranked South Hamilton surpassed its coach’s long-range prediction by putting up an 8-1 mark after disposing of Eagle Grove, 21-7, at Taylor Field Friday night. The Hawks tied the best regular season record in school history, first set in 1968, and advanced to the Class 1A state playoffs for the first time since 2013.
Both achievements were special and Klemp made sure that his players understood exactly what they were playing for.
“Last Thursday after our team meal, I had a (slide show) for the boys and I showed them some historical photos of that (1968) team because I wanted them to know why this community is behind them,” he said. “They really took that to heart and they’re real proud of that, and I’m glad because that’s a team thing.
“From where we started to where we are now, I think that makes getting to the playoffs even more special. We weren’t handed all the pieces; we just had a lot of kids who were willing to work hard, trust the process and trust the coaches. To think of a group that started 1-7 (in 2015) and goes 8-1, that process is where pride comes from, and that’s going to impact them throughout their lives, not just this fall.”
South Hamilton will face a stiff challenge Friday night when it hits the road to take on seventh-ranked Denver (8-1) in a state playoffs first round game. The winner of seven games in a row, Denver has pitched four consecutive shutouts and has outscored its last four foes 181-0.
The winner of the first-round clash will advance to face either second-ranked Van Meter (9-0) or Belmond-Klemme (7-2) in the quarterfinal round.
The Hawks assured themselves of a 10th game by crippling Eagle Grove’s potent offense. The Eagles (6-3, 4-3) were limited to just 101 yards of total offense — 78 rushing and 23 passing. More importantly, do-everything quarterback Brayden Lyman was a non-factor.
Klemp gives his own scout offense credit for preparing the Hawks to muffle the Eagles’ attack.
“Our younger guys on the scout team, they really did a great job this week of looking at film and impersonating that for us in practice,” he said. “When it came game time, our kids were really ready to flow.”
Eagle Grove’s lone touchdown came on a 99-yard kickoff return by Ryan Smith in the second quarter. Otherwise, South Hamilton put the clamps on. The Hawks owned the time of possession and ran 24 more plays, 60-36.
And with a spot in the playoffs on the line, South Hamilton turned it over to its all-state leader to pave the way. Senior running back Logan Klemp lugged the ball a season-high 43 times — most of those totes went between the tackles — and churned out 194 yards and one touchdown.
“(Logan) had a big game, but a tremendous amount of that is due to the lead blocking that Grant (Evans) provided,” Coach Klemp said. “He was an absolute bull.
“They would sit with eight guys at the line of scrimmage and a lot of times had 10 guys in the box. Grant is our bruiser, DJ (Klonglan) is more of the elusive type, and Logan is a combination of both.”
With so much attention paid to the Hawks’ ground game, that allowed quarterback Marco Balderas to burn the Eagles twice for scores. He put South Hamilton in front to stay late in the first quarter on a play-action 23-yard touchdown toss to Cole Berg. Five minutes later, he hit Wes Wynkoop on a slant across the middle for a 15-yard touchdown.
Smith’s dash down the field on the ensuing kickoff trimmed the Hawks’ lead to 14-7, but it went back up to a two-score edge with 1:39 remaining in the half when Logan Klemp busted through the middle on a 6-yard TD plunge.
Logan Klemp went over 1,000 yards on the season during the first half. He’s the first South Hamilton ball carrier to accomplish that feat since Cameron Boyd in 2008.
“That’s a group accomplishment,” Coach Klemp said. “The ling blocking, the lead blocking by the backs … that doesn’t happen lining up one guy on offense.”
Klonglan (27 yards) and Evans (6 yards) got just 12 carries between them on Friday.
Logan Klemp was also the leader defensively with 51⁄2 tackles, including one tackle for loss. Wynkoop and Mateo Balderas both collected five tackles, and Teagan Risetter added four. Risetter and Sam Lewis put the Eagles down in the backfield.
South Hamilton also forced several turnovers. Wynkoop picked off Lyman, while Mateo Balderas and Marco Balderas both recovered fumbles.
South Hamilton 21, Eagle Grove 7
Friday at Jewell
Eagle Grove 0 7 0 0 — 7
So. Hamilton 7 14 0 0 — 21
SH — Cole Berg 23 pass from Marco Balderas (kick failed), 1:54.
SH — Wes Wynkoop 15 pass from Balderas (Logan Klemp run), 8:52.
EG — Ryan Smith 99 kick return (Nick Lentz kick), 8:36.
SH — Klemp 6 run (Klemp kick), 1:39.
Rushing — SH: Logan Klemp 43-194, DJ Klonglan 9-27, Grant Evans 3-6, Marco Balderas 2-0.
Passing — SH: Mar. Balderas 2-2-0 38.
Receiving — SH: Cole Berg 1-23, Wes Wynkoop 1-15.
Tackles — SH: Klemp 51⁄2, Wynkoop 5, Mateo Balderas 5, Teagan Risetter 4, Evans 3, Berg 21⁄2, Nate Laube 2, Sam Lewis 2, Zeke Balderas 11⁄2, Jacob Kooker 11⁄2, Klonglan 11⁄2, Jared Ullestad 1, Dominic Summers 1⁄2.