Second-half flurry carries Hawks past South Hardin
Berg’s 1st start at QB includes 63-yard TD toss
JEWELL — Cole Berg is still figuring out this whole quarterback thing and he’ll only get better as the season progresses.
But so far, so good.
After a career spent at wide receiver, the converted signal caller made his first start under center for South Hamilton in the season opener at Taylor Field Friday night and led the Hawks to a 26-15 victory over South Hardin.
He wasn’t asked to throw much and he only competed one pass, but it was a beauty.
Locked in an 8-8 game late in the third quarter, Berg hooked up with Brandyn Feighner on a 63-yard touchdown bomb that shifted the momentum back to South Hamilton. It was the start of an 18-0 surge that South Hardin was unable to answer.
“Cole stepped up and had a really nice game overall,” South Hamilton head coach Corey Klemp said of his senior quarterback. “As the year progresses, we’ll put the ball in the air more and more, and he’s shown flashes.
“Th big pass really was a momentum changer. We had run some quick slants with our split prior to that, so they were ready to jump that. Brandyn did a nice job and ran a great route.”
Berg and Feighner worked together defensively to set up the touchdown strike. One play earlier, Berg tipped a pass by Tigers’ QB Dalton Lake and Feighner was there for the interception.
South Hamilton (1-0) picked Lake off three times. Sam Lewis returned one of the INT’s for an 18-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter and Brock Galetich also stepped in front of a Lake toss for a turnover.
With a new quarterback and several new pieces in the backfield, South Hamilton relied on its defense to carry the burden. The Hawks limited South Hardin (0-1) to 95 yards rushing on 35 carries and 147 yards of total offense. They also sacked Lake twice.
“Defensively we played really well and they certainly kept us in it,” Klemp said. “We had a number of guys who were getting either their first significant time or getting their first time as ‘the guy’ where the weight was on them. As the game went on, you could see the comfort setting in.”
South Hardin stacked eight guys inside the box in an attempt to slow down the Hawks’ wishbone run game and it was effective. South Hamilton averaged just 3.4 yards per carry and finished with 138 yards on the ground. Berg’s one long completion pushed the team over 200 yards of offense.
“Yards were hard to come by,” Klemp said. “We were just looking for that one broken tackle to spring something loose and we were close a few times, but were never able to pop something to the next level. But as our passing game develops, we’ll be able to stretch teams more.”
Lewis scored three touchdowns, two of them on the ground, and rushed for a game-high 61 yards on 12 carries. Trevor Thompson lugged the ball 11 times for 35 yards. South Hardin limited game-changing tailback DJ Klonglan to just 33 yards on 13 attempts.
Lewis scored the game’s first touchdown on a 9-yard scamper that capped a 51-yard drive with 3:16 remaining in the second quarter. South Hamilton took an 8-0 lead into the intermission.
South Hardin answered with a 12-yard TD run by Beau Butler midway through the third to knot the contest, but Berg’s pass tipped the scales in the Hawks favor.
Lewis’s pick-6 came early in the fourth quarter and he pushed the lead to 26-8 with 5:18 remaining on a 5-yard jaunt to the house.
Thain Friest made the final a bit more respectable for South Hardin on a 4-yard run to paydirt in the final minute of regulation.
Dominic Summers led the Hawks’ defense with 6
South Hamilton will face a stern test in Week 2 when it hosts Grundy Center on Friday at 7 p.m. The Spartans knocked off a quality Belle Plaine team, 34-22, in their opener, as they rushed for 283 yards.
“What we’ve seen on film, they look like a really athletic team,” Klemp said. “It will definitely be a tough game, but it’s one we’ll be ready for.”
S. Hamilton 26, S. Hardin 15
Friday at Jewell
S. Hardin 0 0 8 7 — 15
S. Hamilton 0 8 6 12 — 26
SHam — Sam Lewis 9 run (Cole Berg run), 3:16.
SHar — Beau Butler 12 run (Thain Friest pass from Dalton Lake), 7:31.
SHam — Brandyn Feighner 63 pass from Berg (run failed), 3:18.
SHam — Lewis 18 INT return (pass failed), 10:54.
SHam — Lewis 5 run (run failed), 5:18.
SHar — Friest 4 run (Waylen Butler kick), 0:56.
Rushing — S. Hardin: Thain Friest 5-60, Beau Butler 18-27, Tanner Lawrence 5-11, Brayden Harris 1-2, Colton Haley 1-0, Dalton Lake 5-(0-5). S. Hamilton: Sam Lewis 12-61, Trevor Thompson 11-35, DJ Klonglan 13-33, Cole Berg 4-6, Cade Flaugh 1-3.
Passing — S. Hardin: Lake 7-11-3 52. S. Hamilton: Berg 1-5-0 63.
Receiving — S. Hardin: Harris 2-18, Tyrell Todd 2-16, Haley 1-8, Lawrence 1-7. S. Hamilton: Brandyn Feighner 1-63.
Tackles — S. Hamilton: Dominic Summers 6 1⁄2, Lewis 5 1⁄2, Teagan Risetter 5, Klonglan 4, Nathan Wilson 3 1⁄2, Flaugh 3, Thompson 3, Zeke Balderas 2 1⁄2, Brock Galetich 2 1⁄2, Cade Balvanz 2, Feighner 2, Jeremiah Smith 2, Berg 1 1⁄2, Travis Storm 1, Austin Busch 1⁄2, Lane Swenson 1⁄2.