Hawks’ D, running game punish Norsemen in win

JEWELL – Sam Waid proved last season he was one of the best linebackers in Class 1A with a breakout junior campaign that concluded with all-state honors.

And now here’s the scary part – he’s only gotten better. Even scarier yet? So have his brothers on defense.

Waid and company lived in the Roland-Story backfield Friday night at Taylor Field, as South Hamilton simply overwhelmed the visiting Norsemen in a 24-10 beating that wasn’t as close as the score indicated.

The Hawks registered 20 tackles for loss and subjected Roland-Story to a negative-five yards rushing in their third consecutive victory over their Heart of Iowa Conference rivals. Waid and fellow linebacker Hunter Griffin combined for nine solo tackles, five of which came in the Norsemen backfield.

They ran free because of the work of defensive linemen Trevor Swenson, Ben Greenfield and Carter Young. They controlled the line of scrimmage – on both sides of the ball, actually, as the trio doubles as offensive linemen – from the opening whistle and while they may not have had the statistics to show for it, Hawks’ head coach T.J. Schaefer certainly noticed their value.

“The offensive and defensive lines just played lights out,” Schaefer, who is 3-0 in season openers as the man in charge of the program, said. “Trevor Swenson, Ben Greenfield and Carter Young did a phenomenal job and I take my hat off to Kyle Galetich, our defensive coordinator, because he had an amazing game plan and the boys executed it well.

“I have a lot of faith in our run defense … our linebackers are second to none, I think.”

Freshman Grant Evans collected 6 1/2 tackles and his classmate Logan Klemp picked off a pass. And, yes, that’s right – they’re freshmen.

“I was very pleased with how our new guys stepped it up,” Schaefer said. “Logan and Grant both played a phenomenal game and we’re very pleased that we have freshmen playing that well.”

Both teams turned the ball over four times – JD Rader picked off a pass and recovered a fumble, while Waid also fell on top of a loose ball in the win – in the mud and muck. Roland-Story found success through the air, particularly in the first half, and quarterback Brett Staton finished with 188 passing yards on 9 of 23 completions.

“(Pass defense) is definitely something that we need to work on, but we just have some inexperience there. It will get better,” Schaefer said.

South Hamilton’s defense only gave up three points on a first-quarter 23-yard field goal by Gunder Howe. Roland-Story’s lone touchdown late in the third quarter came on a fumble recovery and 70-yard return by Colton Arnold.

The Hawks finished with a 326-183 advantage in yards gained. Senior tailback Andy Cook accounted for 155 yards on the ground on 19 carries and he scored a pair of touchdowns. His 9-yard burst with 3:04 left in the first half gave South Hamilton a 17-3 advantage, and he added a 1-yard plunge to up the edge to 24-3 early in the third quarter.

Waid, a fullback, bullied his way to 54 yards and a score – a 1-yard lumber up the gut midway through the first quarter that put the Hawks in front for good – on 13 totes. Rader scurried for 30 yards rushing on seven attempts.

“Sam and Andy played a heck of a game,” Schaefer said. “(Roland-Story) keyed on Sam and they had no idea what we had in Andy. The coaching staff knows and the players know, but no one else really does because he was behind a really good back in Devin Howard last year. He had his breakout game and I think he’s one (player) people are going to be talking about all season.”

Sophomore quarterback Collin Hill completed 4 of 13 passes for 79 yards, including a 50-yard bomb to Landon Quam that set up one of the team’s touchdowns, in his first varsity start under center. Klemp caught two balls for 28 yards.

Colton Coy played a part in the win with a 24-yard field goal in the second quarter, and he was also 3-for-3 on PATs.

Cook and Colton Griffin added 5 1/2 and four tackles from their linebacker positions as well.

South Hamilton will look to go 2-0 on Friday when it makes the trip south to State Center to take on West Marshall at 7 p.m. The Trojans were handed a 38-6 thumping by CMB in Week 1, but their rich tradition makes it impossible for the Hawks to look ahead to Week 3 and the start of the 1A District 7 slate.

“They’ve got a great tradition and a great program,” Schaefer said. “You can’t ever rule a team like that out.”