ONE OF A KIND
No. 4 Hawks complete first unbeaten regular season in school history
JEWELL — Taylor Field was lit, but eerily quiet in the wee hours Friday night. The players and fans were gone, but there was South Hamilton head coach Corey Klemp, standing near midfield, alone with his thoughts and emotions.
His team had just made history — the first undefeated regular season in school history with a 40-14 rout of Aplington-Parkersburg. And Klemp’s first thought? He wished his parents could see it.
Klemp lost his dad, Jerry, in 2005. His mom, Bev, who was always his first call, win or lose, passed away on Aug. 1. They would have been so proud.
“There’s nothing more peaceful than a football field after the fans have left and I was really reflecting on where we are and where we’ve come from,” Klemp said of his 10 minutes of peace alone on the field. “It was also a chance for me to connect with my parents again, to let them know that I’d done well.”
Oct. 7, 2016 — that’s the date that everything changed for Klemp and his program. It was halftime against Ogden when Klemp drew a metaphorical line in the sand and asked his players which way did they want to go? Did they want to stay in the lane of mediocrity, or did they want to drive in the fast lane?
Since that moment, South Hamilton is 31-6 in the regular season, including 7-0 this fall. And so while Klemp credits his current players for making history, he says this surge began nearly four years ago.
“That’s the night we turned the corner,” he said. “So to have the opportunity to lead this program is something that I couldn’t be more proud of. I couldn’t be more proud of our assistant coaches, but most importantly our kids and the leaders they’ve become in our program.”
Fourth-ranked (Class 1A) South Hamilton (7-0, 5-0 District 3) reached one-of-a-kind status Friday night behind a career performance from senior Brock Galetich, who gouged A-P (2-5, 2-3 District 3) for 274 rushing yards, 354 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns. All four of his TDs were long-distance journeys — runs of 68, 73 and 76 yards, as well as an 80-yard kickoff return.
The Falcons flooded the box in an attempt to slow down bruising halfback Trevor Thompson. That didn’t exactly work, as Thompson still went for 158 yards and one TD, and it left the perimeter vulnerable for the speedy Galetich. On South Hamilton’s third play from scrimmage, he went 68 yards untouched down the sideline and the rout was on.
“It opened up on that first run and we noticed they stayed in that (defense),” Galetich said. “They kept their three linebackers in, so we just kept running outside and all we had to do was keep that seal on the end.”
Galetich was quick to point out that it was a team effort. The Hawks’ offensive line owned the point of attack and kept his uniform clean all night.
“In my opinion, our line is one of the best in the state,” Galetich said. “Week in and week out, they just work their tails off and it showed (on Friday). The holes that were there, they were huge.”
South Hamilton’s four-headed rushing beast — Galetich, Thompson, fullback Lane Swenson and quarterback Freddie Lewis — accounted for 463 yards on the ground. Swenson also reached the end zone on a 2-yard plunge early in the fourth quarter.
The Hawks finished the regular season as the No. 1-ranked rushing offense in the class. And the pick-your-poison balance is just fine with all four backs.
“We just feed off each other,” Galetich said. “We’re not selfish, we cheer for each other. The only thing that matters is if we get the (win) or not.”
Two of Galetich’s long jaunts gave South Hamilton a 14-0 lead after one quarter. Thompson capped a 12-play, 97-yard drive with a 25-yard burst up the middle late in the second to up the advantage to 20-0.
South Hamilton’s ball control display continued in the third period when A-P ran just two offensive plays, the second of which was an interception by Kyler Hodnefield. The Falcons managed a pair of passing TDs in the fourth — a 34-yard strike from Owen Thomas to Kaden Huttinger, followed by a 14-yard toss from Thomas to Chase Verrett — but Galetich answered both scores in highlight reel style, first on the 80-yard kickoff return and then on a 76-yard run.
“Brock put on a show, that’s for sure,” Klemp said. “It’s always a team thing … the line did excellent, and the tight ends and backs did a great job of sealing the edge. Brock, when you give him that space, he’s going to take full advantage of it.”
Lewis also had an interception, and Austin Busch piled up eight tackles in the runaway victory. Swenson, Colton Willis and Carter Hewitt all sacked Thomas, who stayed upright enough to complete 19 of 32 passes for 230 yards.
South Hamilton limited A-P to 44 yards rushing.
The Hawks first outright district title in school history earned them a bye in the first round of the postseason, which will be held on Friday. South Hamilton will host either South Hardin or Central Springs in the second round on Oct. 23.
South Hamilton handled South Hardin, 28-6, during Week 4 of the regular season.
South Hamilton 40, A-P 14
Friday at Jewell
Aplington-Parkersburg 0 0 0 14 — 14
South Hamilton 14 6 0 20 — 40
SH — Brock Galetich 68 run (Trevor Thompson run), 9:41.
SH — Galetich 73 run (run failed), 5:03.
SH — Thompson 25 run (run failed), 0:24.
SH — Lane Swenson 2 run (pass failed), 10:26.
A-P — Kaden Huttinger 34 pass from Owen Thomas (Thomas run), 5:30.
SH — Galetich 80 kickoff return (run failed), 5:19.
A-P — Chase Verrett 14 pass from Thomas (run failed), 3:36.
SH — Galetich 76 run (Thompson run), 2:44.
Rushing — A-P: Chase Verrett 9-22, Owen Thomas 14-12, Garrett Hempen 3-10, Jake Wolff 2-0. SH: Brock Galetich 16-274, Trevor Thompson 24-158, Lane Swenson 8-28, Freddie Lewis 4-3.
Passing — A-P: Thomas 19-32-2 230. SH: Lewis 0-0-0 0.
Receiving — A-P: Cameron Luhring 8-114, Jayden Mackie 2-34, Kaden Huttinger 1-34, Josh Haan 2-19, Verrett 2-18, Trevor Rule 1-6, Cael Lupkes 1-3, Aidan Junker 1-2, Wolff 1-0.
Tackles — SH: Austin Busch 8, L. Swenson 5, Thompson 5, Galetich 41⁄2, Elijah Balderas 41⁄2, Colton Willis 41⁄2, Lewis 4, Kyler Hodnefield 31⁄2, Carter Hewitt 21⁄2, Tycin Barkema 2, Landen Skartvedt 2, Dominic Summers 11⁄2, Carter Balvanz 11⁄2, Blake Harris 1, Preston Stoecker 1⁄2, Clayton Ubben 1⁄2, Aiden Johnson 1⁄2.