No. 9 Hawks face a tough test against Tigers
Three of top four RBs in 1A?District 3 will be featured
JEWELL — Knocking on the door for so long, the South Hamilton football team finally blitzed its way through the entrance last Friday night.
And the Hawks have no intentions of leaving after just one week inside the high roller’s room.
Coming off a 20-0 victory over then No. 8-ranked (Class 1A) Dike New Hartford one week ago, newly anointed ninth-ranked South Hamilton (3-0) will face another stiff test this evening when it hosts fellow unbeaten South Hardin (3-0) at Taylor Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The Tigers are certainly no slouch. Not only have they beaten several quality opponents, including Iowa Falls-Alden, 23-9 in Week 1, but they also knocked off South Hamilton a season ago, 19-14.
“What South Hardin has done this season speaks for itself with the start they’ve had,” South Hamilton head coach Corey Klemp said. “They’re a team that we know we have to be at our best against to compete and win. And that outcome last year, it certainly keeps things in perspective. There’s nothing more important than this game this week.”
At stake is a leg up in the race for the 1A District 3 title. And while that might not carry the prestige of previous seasons due to the fact that every team will qualify for the postseason this fall, Klemp says every win is important.
“You obviously want to position yourself with your best record,” he said. “You want to put yourself in the best situation come the postseason and the team that controls the district is going to have that best chance.”
The clash will feature three of the top four running backs in the district. South Hamilton senior Trevor Thompson has 398 yards and eight touchdowns on the season to sit at the top, and teammate Lane Swenson is at No. 4 with 258 yards and three scores. South Hardin counters with Beau Butler and his 263 yards and four TDs.
“He’s a real impressive player,” Klemp said of Butler. “He’s got good size, he’s an athletic kid and he competes hard. He’ll definitely be the best back we’ve faced this year.”
Butler did his damage as a receiver against South Hamilton a season ago with three catches for 75 yards. Thompson rushed for 112 yards in the Hawks’ loss.
The Hawks have been mighty stingy on defense through three games. They allow just 4.7 points per game and rank No. 3 in the class.
South Hamilton has yet to be tested in three lopsided contests, but Klemp is confident his team can grind out a close game as well. And that’s something he expects this week.
“These guys have really come together as a group and they share a common focus on what their goals are,” he said. “We haven’t really had a close game yet, but there have been situations in games where they rallied around each other and didn’t panic. I knew they were capable of that, but it was still comforting.”
Tonight: South Hardin at South Hamilton
Where: Taylor Field, Jewell.
Time: 7 p.m.
Records: South Hardin 3-0, South Hamilton 3-0.
Last year: South Hardin beat the Hawks, 19-14.