In a battle of ranked teams in Class A it was Number 1 defeating Number 10. Top ranked West Hancock entertained Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn October 1 at Britt and won 20-6 on the strength of its defense and running game. HMS (4-2) has now lost both of its non-district contests but remains unbeaten in Class 1A District 1.
The Hawks used a fumble recovery by Landon Elwood to set up touchdown that gave them a 6-0 lead late in the first quarter. The flea flicker play resulted in quarterback Kooper Ebel throwing to running back Connor Dodd for a 37 yard touchdown. Dodd was stopped short on the two-point run.
That was pretty much it for the HMS offense. Throughout the remainder of the game the only Hawk possessions that did not result in a punt were the ones at the end of the half and the end of the game.
“We came here to win and we didn’t quite get it,” said HMS head coach Jay Eilers. “They were physical, they were fast defensively. We’re going to evaluate this game and make sure that this game makes us better. We struggled offensively. That’s on me.” The coaching staff knew the Hawks needed to “value the three” by consistently gaining three or more yards on each running play but West Hancock didn’t allow that. “When we weren’t getting the three, that’s putting us against the sticks, and that is where we were,” noted Eilers.
The Eagles rushed for 354 yards on the night. Running back Mathew Francis accounted for 239 of those yards, including touchdown runs of 33 and two yards. He also scored on a two-point run. The final West Hancock touchdown came on a 49 yard scramble by quarterback Logan Leerar.
It could have been worse for the Hawks. The HMS defense stopped the Eagles on downs at the Hawk 15, the Hawk 25, the Hawk two and the Hawk 44.
Eilers credited the punting unit, including punter Jordan Ortega and snapper Travis Kamradt with doing a great job flipping the field. “We felt like the punting game could be a change of field position and it came out to be exactly what it was,” said the coach. “That was a great asset for us.”
This is Homecoming Week at HMS and Hinton will provide the opposition in Friday’s game. “Homecoming is something that I’ve always remembered in my career,” remarked Eilers. “It’s about our kids and it’s about them enjoying it. As a football team we always have a responsibility, but I want them to enjoy the heck out of it. You’re only 16, 17, 18 for a short amount of time. Enjoy it. When you get to 35, 45, 55, 65 I want you to look back and be like ‘That was awesome!’”
Hinton is 1-5 on the season. The only win was over MMCRU by a 7-6 score. The Blackhawks are coming off a 45-28 Homecoming loss to Akron-Westfield.
Eilers had these thoughts on Friday’s Homecoming opponent: “I think they’re versatile. They like to run the power read with their quarterback and the run game/pass game and similar to the option where they’re going to read a defender and whether they give or pull without the pitch but they’re going to have a two-option within their power read. They do a nice job up front.”
The coach believes his team can turn Hinton over. “I think we can get back to a position where we can start taking the ball away,” said Eilers. “I think we take the ball away the best when teams throw and we can put pressure on guys and we have good DB’s. I think we can be in a position to do that. We need to.” The coach concluded, “They do have some big kids up front. I feel they’re going to continue to get better. But it’s going to be our job to get up and play Hawk football and do our job early.”
Homecoming Game time is 7:00 p.m. Friday, October 8 at Hartley.
HMS 6 0 0 0 – 6
WH 0 14 6 0 – 20
0:52 HMS – Connor Dodd 37 yard pass from Kooper Ebel (2 pt run failed) 6-0
5:51 WH – Mathew Francis 33 yard run (kick failed) 6-6
0:47 WH – Francis 2 yard run (Francis 2 pt run) 6-14
6:55 WH – Logan Leerar 49 yard run (2 pt run failed) 6-20
(No HMS stats available)