No. 7 South Hamilton has soared behind ground and pound

South Hamilton’s Tycin Barkema (5) and Colton Willis celebrate a 20-0 win over Dike-New Hartford earlier this month. No. 7-ranked South Hamilton will play at Hudson this evening. DFJ photo/Angela Hewitt

JEWELL — If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It works in life, and has South Hamilton has proven this season, it translates to the football field as well.

Have the seventh-ranked (Class 1A) Hawks been one-dimensional offensively through four games? It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. But that’s been by design.

“If we were throwing the ball all over the place, nobody would be saying you should run the ball,” South Hamilton head coach Corey Klemp said matter-of-factly as he prepared for a Week 5 road trip to face Hudson (2-2, 1-1 District 3) tonight at 7 p.m. “For us, we really pride ourselves on running the football. There may be times where we do need to open things up more and we have the capabilities of doing that.”

What South Hamilton (4-0, 2-0 District 3) does is run the ball right down the throats of its opponents. The Hawks have outscored their opponents by 115 points, 135-20, by rushing for 1,272 yards, an average of 318 a game. They have accrued 593 yards more than their closest district competitor Aplington-Parkersburg (679 yards rushing) and have lapped the other four teams.

Bruising senior halfback Trevor Thompson leads the district in ground yards (572) and touchdowns (10). Fellow halfback Brock Galetich (335 yards) ranks fourth and fullback Lane Swenson (335 yards) is sixth. Galetich brings the speed, Swenson is a ferocious lead blocker, and the Hawks’ offensive line has been dominant in the trenches up to this point.

Klemp went into last week’s game against South Hardin expecting to ask quarterback Freddie Lewis to air the ball out on occasion, but it was quickly apparent that wouldn’t be needed. Lewis attempted just one pass — a 19-yard completion to Galetich — as South Hamilton went with the tried and true ground and pound to the tune of 24 first downs, an overwhelming time of possession advantage and 28-6 victory.

Lewis has thrown just six passes on the season. He’s completed three for 60 yards and a touchdown. But Klemp is confident that he’ll be capable of increasing his work load if necessary.

“How we run the ball, that sets up play-action passing,” Klemp said.

Expect South Hamilton to stick with what’s worked this evening when it faces a Hudson team that is coming off a 20-0 win over East Marshall last week. The Pirates have shut out two of their last three opponents, so Klemp has his crew prepared for another dogfight.

“This is a team that we’ve really got to pay close attention to because it’s two years removed from a state championship,” Klemp said. “They clearly know how to get it done.”

Hudson beat AHSTW, 30-7, in the 2018 Class A state final. In 2017, the Pirates finished as the state runner-up in the class following a 35-14 loss to West Sioux.

The Pirates lean on running back Joe Culham, who has accounted for 285 of his team’s 494 rushing yards. Hudson quarterback Bryce Griffin has completed 9 of 27 passes for just 52 yards and has been intercepted five times.

Hudson will face a South Hamilton defense that ranks third in 1A, allowing just five points per game. Much like the offense, the unit is built around a physical attitude where players are held accountable.

“We run what we run on defense,” Klemp said. “We’re very much about playing your position and responsibilities with everybody flowing to the ball. They’ve all done a really great job.”


South Hamilton at Hudson

Where: Hudson.

Time: 7 p.m.

Records: South Hamilton 4-0, 2-0 District 3; Hudson 2-2, 1-1 District 3.

Last year: Did not meet.


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