TROJANS’ HART-BEAT HAS HIS WAY WITH HAWKS
Junior QB accounts for 226 yards and 3 TDs; SH blanked for first time since 2017
STATE CENTER — Payton Hart was a threat with his arm and his feet Friday night and there wasn’t much South Hamilton could do to contain him.
The result? The West Marshall junior quarterback had himself a fun time.
Hart completed 4 of 8 passes for 154 yards with a touchdown — his four successful two-point conversions through the air don’t even factor into his haul — and he also chugged his way to 72 yards and two more scores on the ground. Hart’s 226 yards of total offense out-gained the entire South Hamilton offense by 62 yards, as he led West Marshall to a 38-0 romp in non-district play.
South Hamilton (1-2) was shutout for the first time since a 42-0 setback against Van Meter on Sept. 15, 2017, and head coach Corey Klemp said West Marshall’s physicality was a big reason why the Hawks failed to find the end zone.
The Trojans (2-1) owned the trenches.
“I was really impressed with West Marshall up front,” Klemp said. “We were playing reactive more than us going out and taking it to them, but a big part of that is a credit to West Marshall. Really, the last two weeks, we haven’t controlled the line of scrimmage and that’s something we have to work on. The kids are playing hard, but we’ve got to improve in those areas for us to have more sustained success.”
Klemp was plenty impressed by Hart as well. The quarterback typified West Marshall’s attitude of playing physical on each snap.
“He’s a very physical runner and a kid that can obviously throw the ball as well,” Klemp said. “He presented some problems for us.”
For the third week in a row, all of South Hamilton’s offense — all 164 yards — came on the ground. Halfback Landen Skartvedt rushed for 71 yards on 18 carries, and quarterback Tjerdan Johnson found some gaps for 56 yards on seven totes. Gavin Swenson added 30 more yards on six attempts.
West Marshall found balance in its output of 389 yards. The Trojans busted several big plays and averaged 9.9 yards per play on the night.
Preston Pope led the Trojans’ ground attack with 109 yards on 14 rushes.
Hart played a big role in giving the Trojans a 16-0 advantage at halftime. He pushed across the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter and then hooked up with Graham Nason on an 89-yard score at the 3:08 mark of the second quarter.
Hart added another TD run, this time from 15 yards away, less than three minutes into the third. The back-breaker for the Hawks came five minutes later when Pope scooped up a South Hamilton fumble and scooted 55 yards the other way to the house.
Caden Vellinga padded the Trojans’ lead on a 21-yard burst just six seconds into the fourth.
“Watching it back on film, there are a number of places where we’re one block away from busting one,” Klemp said. “So I don’t know that there’s anywhere that the bubble burst (on Friday), it was more like a slow leak.”
One positive was the return of senior linebacker Austin Busch for the first time this season. The three-year starter was sidelined with a high ankle sprain during the first two weeks, but made an impact in his 2021 debut with a team-high eight tackles, four of which were solo stops. Klemp’s hopeful he’ll be able to add to his duties at fullback this Friday when South Hamilton hosts Belmond-Klemme in the Class 1A District 2 opener for both teams.
“Having Austin back was certainly a big presence in the middle,” Klemp said. “A high ankle sprain is a tough injury to overcome and he’s certainly nowhere near 100 percent, but he’s back at least playing and he brings some stability. We’re hoping this week we’ll get him back on the offensive side of the ball as well.”
Skartvedt made five tackles and also intercepted Hart. Brent Greenfield was in on four tackles.
W. Marshall 38, S. Hamilton 0
Friday at State Center
S. Hamilton 0 0 0 0 — 0
W. Marshall 8 8 14 8 — 38
WM — Payton Hart 1 run (Preston Reese pass from Hart) 1:30.
WM — Graham Nason 89 pass from Hart (Joey Tollefson pass from Hart), 3:08.
WM — Hart 15 run (run failed), 9:04.
WM — Preston Pope 55 fumble return (Tollefson pass from Hart), 4:07.
WM — Caden Vellinga 21 run (Tollefson pass from Hart), 11:54.
Rushing — SH: Landen Skartvedt 18-71, Tjerdan Johnson 7-56, Gavin Swenson 6-30, Tycin Barkema 5-4, Prestin Van De Pol 2-3, Blake Harris 3-0. WM: Preston Pope 14-109, Peyton Hart 9-72, Caden Vellinga 4-29, Anthony Schuler 1-5, Ben Gonzalez 2-4.
Passing — SH: Johnson 0-2-0-0 0. WM: Hart 4-8-1-1 154, Schuler 1-1-0-0 13.
Receiving — WM: Graham Nason 2-127, Parker Reese 2-25, Joey Tollefson 1-15.
Tackles — SH: Austin Busch 8, Skartvedt 5, Brent Greenfield 4, Van De Pol 31⁄2, Gatlin Johnson 31⁄2, Jack Moline 21⁄2, Swenson 11⁄2, Harris 11⁄2, Teagan Trask 11⁄2, Tucker Clabaugh 11⁄2, Barkema 1⁄2, Owen Renaud 1⁄2, Noah Gunderson 1⁄2.