Athletic South Winn knocks Hawks out of postseason

CALMAR – The South Hamilton football team went into Wednesday’s Class 1A state playoffs first-round game against South Winneshiek knowing it needed to at least contain elite wide receiver Jordan Rommes if it wanted a chance to pull off the upset.

The Hawks were unable to do it, and in the process they couldn’t stop the Warriors’ running game either.

South Winneshiek – ranked in the top five in the state during the first half of the season – chewed up more than 200 yards rushing in the first half and still got Rommes involved with a pair of touchdown receptions and another on the ground in its 46-20 victory over South Hamilton.

Rommes, the leading target on the outside in the class with 1,135 receiving yards, scored the game’s first touchdown on a 48-yard scamper and later reeled in TD grabs of 29 and 39 yards from quarterback Logan Schweinefus to help carry the Warriors (8-2) into a second-round date with second-ranked Dike-New Hartford (10-0) on Monday.

“We tried to shut down Rommes and we did an OK job, but in order to stop him we had to take someone out of the box and that killed us rushing,” South Hamilton head coach T.J. Schaefer said. “They were very good. Their offensive line was a lot better than what we expected and the majority of their linemen only (played) one way, so they were able to get after it on both sides of the ball.

“Our boys fought hard and played hard, but our execution was just a little off.”

South Winneshiek took control of the contest in the second and third quarters by racking up 32 consecutive points to pull ahead 46-7. Schweinefus threw four touchdown passes during the run.

South Hamilton (6-4) closed out its season by picking up 329 yards of offense. Senior quarterback Matt Hislop completed 8 of 21 passes for 179 yards and a pair of scores; Andy Cook led the Hawks on the ground with 70 yards on 14 carries.

South Hamilton played without senior tailback Devin Howard, who was injured during the final week of the regular season.

“Not having Devin was a setback … we didn’t execute in the run as much as I had hoped,” Schaefer said.

Trevor Ullestad’s only catch of the game covered 51 yards and resulted in the Hawks’ first touchdown on the final play of the first quarter. But they didn’t score again until the 8:48 mark of the final period on a 7-yard pass from Hislop to fullback Sam Waid.

Garrett Evans added a 14-yard TD run later in the fourth.

Cook led the Hawks’ defense with 8 1/2 tackles, and Ullestad picked off his class-leading ninth pass.