Hawks dominant again defensively, blank Indians
Poky goes backwards, Lewis rushes for 115
POCAHONTAS — Run the ball at the South Hamilton defense and you’re likely to be disappointed.
Right Pocahontas Area?
One of the top defensive units in Class 1A continued to impress in the mud and muck Friday night, as the Hawks handcuffed Pocahontas Area and collected their second shutout of the season, 20-0.
Handoffs were treated like penalties, the ball moving backward more than forward. The Indians’ passing game wasn’t much better.
South Hamilton (5-2, 2-1 1A District 2), which stayed comfortably in the playoff picture, limited Pocahontas Area (3-4, 2-1) to 56 yards of total offense and threw the Indians back for minus-5 yards on the ground. The Hawks also forced three turnovers — interceptions by Brandyn Feighner and DJ Klonglan, and a fumble recovery by Nathan Wilson.
“You can’t ask for a lot more out of a group,” South Hamilton head coach Corey Klemp said of his defense, which ranks fourth in 1A in points allowed at 9.71 per game. “Defensively we were in control of a lot of things. They tried to throw the ball a lot, but our coverage was good and we brought enough pressure to force untimely throws. Our linebacker play was great too.”
With 12 interceptions on the season, South Hamilton shares the top spot in the class with Interstate 35, district rival South Central Calhoun and Sumner-Fredericksburg. Feighner’s pick on Friday was his fifth of the season, the second-most in 1A.
The defense gave South Hamilton the only points it would need midway through the second quarter when Zeke Balderas broke through the line and buried Pocahontas Area quarterback Trey Oehlertz in the end zone for a safety.
The Hawks padded their lead on the ensuing drive and took an 8-0 cushion into the intermission on a 5-yard touchdown run by Klonglan.
With a dominant defense and the difficult elements, South Hamilton opted to stay grounded throughout the contest. The backfield accounted for all 310 yards of offense, which was more than enough despite the fact that South Hamilton failed to complete a pass.
“It was not our prettiest win by any means, but it goes down as a W,” Klemp said. “Offensively it didn’t feel like we were in sync or rhythm, but then the game is over and you look and see we had 310 yards rushing, so I guess is must have been OK.”
Six different players accounted for the massive rushing total. Halfback Sam Lewis led the way with 115 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries and Klonglan churned out 96 yards on 23 totes. Trevor Thompson took the ball from quarterback Cole Berg 13 times and went for 43 yards, while Cade Flaugh added 37 yards and a score.
Even Balderas, a mainstay on the Hawks’ offensive line, got a carry that produced five yards in the Hawks’ “dog bone” package.
“If the linemen are doing well, we’ll use the ‘dog bone’. It keeps them kind of hungry and they know if we get in short yardage or on a (two-point conversion try), we’re going to bring in one of those guys,” Klemp said. “We were trying to create some depth (in the backfield). We’re a little banged up in the backfield, so we rotated some more guys in.”
South Hamilton increased its lead with one touchdown in the third quarter and another in the fourth. Lewis rambled his way across the goal line from 6 yards out to make it 14-0 and Flaugh later busted loose up the middle on a 26-yard sprint to paydirt.
Thompson led the Hawks’ defense with 51⁄2 tackles, one more than Lewis. Feighner and Dominic Summers both collected 31⁄2 stops.
South Hamilton will look to further cement its status as a playoff contender on Friday when it hosts Ogden (4-3, 1-2) on Senior Night at 7 p.m. It’s possible it will be the Hawks final regular season game; they’re scheduled to travel to Eagle Grove in Week 9, but the Eagles have not played since Week 4. They’ve forfeited all three of their district games against Pocahontas Area, Madrid and Ogden due to a lack of players.
Klemp says he hopes to know whether Eagle Grove will forfeit its final two games sometime later this week. Regardless, South Hamilton’s full attention will be on Ogden.
“I really don’t know where we’re at (with Week 9), but we’re definitely looking at Ogden as the most important game left,” he said. “We know that for us to get in the playoffs, we’ve got to win every week.
“We’re playing well, but Ogden does present some challenges because they’re kind of wide open. They’ve got a quarterback (Sam Christensen) who’s a very good runner and a very good thrower. So eliminating big plays and forcing them into long drives, that plays into our strengths.”
South Hamilton 20,
Friday at Pocahontas
South Hamilton 0 8 6 6 — 20
Pocahontas Area 0 0 0 0 — 0
SH — Safety Zeke Balderas, 6:47.
SH — DJ Klonglan 5 run (pass failed), 4:07.
SH — Sam Lewis 6 run (run failed), 2:44.
SH — Cade Flaugh 26 run (kick failed), 1:33.
Rushing — SH: Sam Lewis 22-115, DJ Klonglan 23-96, Trevor Thompson 13-43, Cade Flaugh 3-37, Cole Berg 5-14, Zeke Balderas 1-5.
Passing — SH: Berg 0-6-0 0.
Tackles — SH: Thompson 51⁄2, Lewis 41⁄2, Brandyn Feighner 31⁄2, Dominic Summers 31⁄2, Berg 21⁄2, Klonglan 21⁄2, Jeremiah Smith 2, Nathan Wilson 2, Balderas 11⁄2, Brock Galetich 11⁄2, Trevor Meyers 11⁄2, Teagan Risetter 11⁄2, Cade Balvanz 1, Freddie Lewis 1, Colton Willis 1, Sheldon Tapper 1⁄2.