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No. 7 SCC rallies past No. 4 Hawks in Round of 16

Titans score 20 unanswered 4th quarter points

South Hamilton senior Trevor Thompson (25) is embraced by head coach Corey Klemp moments after the season ended for the No. 4-ranked Hawks Friday night in Jewell. No. 7 South Central Calhoun scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns to win the Class 1A state playoff game, 20-8. DFJ photo/Angela Hewitt

JEWELL — The emotions were real, the disbelief genuine, as South Hamilton’s players quietly gravitated toward midfield following the final horn at Taylor Field Friday night.

For three-plus quarters, the fourth-ranked Hawks were in control of their Class 1A Round of 16 battle. But over the final 91⁄2 minutes, seventh-ranked South Central Calhoun seized control and erupted for 20 unanswered points to stun South Hamilton, 20-8, and end the most successful season in program history.

“We played really well for 31⁄2 quarters, and a couple plays here and there are all that separated us from moving on or having things end,” South Hamilton head coach Corey Klemp said. “There was a lot of emotion after the game from the kids. As hard as it was to see the pain they were going through, it just reinforced the fact that these guys invested so much emotionally and physically into Hawk football and the family we’ve got here. That’s when you realize how high of a caliber this group of guys is.”

South Central Calhoun (8-1) hit two big plays, both for scores, over a 3-minute, 25-second span of the fourth quarter that put the Hawks back on their heels and they were never able to recovery.

With 9:25 on the clock and facing a fourth-and-20 at the South Hamilton 42, the Titans went to the swinging gate formation — the center, two guards and quarterback lined up in the middle of the field, and the remaining seven players out wide right. Receiver Joshua Dietrich sprinted straight down the field at the snap and plucked the throw from quarterback Cole Corey out of the air, avoided one tackle, and went the rest of the way to the end zone unscathed to get South Central Calhoun on the board.

DFJ photo/Angela Hewitt

The Titans’ two-point conversion try failed and they still trailed, 8-6, but they owned the momentum.

“That was certainly a huge point,” Klemp said. “The play they ran, we’d seen that formation on film, so we knew what their capabilities were. We were in position to defend it and they just made a play.”

A quick three-and-out and punt for South Hamilton (8-1) returned the ball to SCC at its own 31 with over 6 minutes remaining. Just a few plays later, bruising fullback Brennan Holder took the hand-off on an inside trap and lumbered 53 yards, breaking tackles along the way, to the house for the go-ahead score.

“We gave up two big plays all season, they just happened to be on consecutive drives,” Klemp said. “(Holder) made a play in that situation.”

South Hamilton’s problems compounded on the first play of the ensuring drive — a fumble near the 30 that Corey recovered. The Titans cashed in on the turnover courtesy of a Holder 2-yard TD run on fourth-and-goal with 2:32 remaining that effectively put the game out of reach.

DFJ photo/Angela Hewitt

Holder rushed for a game-high 112 yards and SCC owned a 188-167 advantage on the ground. It was the first time South Hamilton was out-rushed this season.

SCC limited the Hawks to 3.3 yards per carry. South Hamilton’s ground attack was hobbled early on when halfback Brock Galetich suffered a strained Achille’s on the opening possession of the game. He played sparingly in the backfield throughout the rest of the contest.

“That really changed not only what we could do, but what South Central could key us offensively,” Klemp said. “We knew it was going to be a lot stingier of defense than we’ve seen all season. But at full strength, I’m confident we could have moved more efficiently.”

Trevor Thompson led the Hawks’ offense with 80 yards on 19 carries. He gave South Hamilton an early 8-0 lead with a 3-yard TD run on fourth down late in the first quarter. A few plays earlier, he picked off a Corey tipped pass and set the Hawks up at the Titan 24.

South Hamilton drove into Titan territory on four other occasions. Its best chance to take a two-score lead came late in the third quarter, but a pass from quarterback Freddie Lewis went off the hand of tight end Carter Hewitt in the end zone and Corey was in position for the interception. Hewitt’s arm was yanked and he was headed to the ground prior to the pass reaching him, but no flag for interference was thrown.

DFJ photo/Angela Hewitt

Fullback Lane Swenson gained 67 yards on the ground in the loss. Lewis completed 3 of 8 passes for 23 yards.

Thompson led South Hamilton defensively with seven tackles and the pick. Kyler Hodnefield made five tackles, and three others — Austin Busch, Colton Willis and Hewitt — finished with 41⁄2 stops. Hewitt also had a sack and recovered a fumble.

Klemp knows the loss will sting for the foreseeable future, but he says it shouldn’t deter from what the Hawks accomplished this fall.

“There are no words I could use to describe how proud I am of this group, not only for what they accomplished, but how they did it,” he said. “People realize we’re 8-0, first undefeated regular season in school history, but what they don’t see is how well-mannered these kids are, what their character is like and how hard they work in practice. That’s the stuff that if people knew, they would be even prouder yet.”

SC Calhoun 20, South Hamilton 8

DFJ photo/Angela Hewitt

Friday at Jewell

SCC 0 0 0 20 — 20

SH 8 0 0 0 — 8

First Quarter

SH — Trevor Thompson 3 run (Thompson run), 0:43.

Fourth Quarter

SCC — Joshua Dietrich 43 pass from Cole Corey (run failed), 9:20.

SCC — Brennan Holder 53 run (Holder run), 5:55.

SCC — Holder 2 run (pass failed), 2:32.

Individual Statistics

Rushing — SCC: Brennan Holder 16-112, Blake McAlister 15-60, Cole Corey 2-17, Jordan Khommanyvong 2-2, T’Juan Sanders 1-(-1). SH: Trevor Thompson 19-80, Lane Swenson 17-67, Freddie Lewis 6-12, Brock Galetich 8-8.

Passing — SCC: Corey 2-9-1 47. SH: Lewis 3-8-2-23.

Receiving — SCC: Joshua Dietrich 1-43, McAlister 1-4. SH: Galetich 2-13, Kyler Hodnefield 1-10.

Tackles — SH: Thompson 7, Hodnefield 5, Austin Busch 41⁄2, Colton Willis 41⁄2, Carter Hewitt 41⁄2, Dominic Summers 4, Elijah Balderas 31⁄2, L. Swenson 3, Galetich 21⁄2, Landen Skartvedt 21⁄2, Tycin Barkema 2, Ethan Young 1.

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