E-Hawks Battle Hard In Loss
September 10, 2019


by Joseph Schany

The accomplished running game of the West Hancock Eagles would spell the difference in a 41-13 loss for the Emmetsburg E-Hawks at their first home game of the season on Friday night.

Coming into the non-district game 1-0 after last week's road win over Bishop-Garrigan in Algona, the E-Hawks knew they faced a tough, experienced opponent in the West Hancock Eagles.

"We need to make a big jump this week," said Defensive Coordinator Mark Klaus prior to the matchup. "We need to play faster."

The E-Hawks would be first on the board midway through the first quarter after an opening drive that started with a 24 yard kick return by Zach Foxhoven, saw short bursts on the ground from Mason Griffin, Cole Shirk, and Ben Dunlap, two key first downs in a pass to Gerard Ruiz for 13 yards and a Lex Kassel 10 yard catch, and ended with a pass from Dunlap to Colby Weir for a 15 yard touchdown. A missed extra point would keep the score at 6-0.

The Eagles were quick to answer on the very next play, however, when Tate Hagen returned a Dunlap kick 78 yards to tie the game. A West Hancock missed extra point would keep the score at 6 all.

After a 24 yard Foxhoven kick return, Emmetsburg would again march down the field and score on a 4th & 5 Foxhoven end zone sprint from the 14-yard line with 3:02 left in the first. The drive also saw a 22 yard Dunlap pass to Ruiz and runs from Griffin, Shirk, and Dunlap.

Cade Jacobson would tack on the extra point to bring the score to 13-6.

The Eagles' would soon answer again, as the next possession would see a Josef Smith kick return to midfield, then a three-play Smith/Hagen 50 yard ground effort to score with 2:05 left on the clock.

Eagles quarterback Brayden Leerar would then hand the ball to Hagen for a 2-point conversion to take the lead, 14-13.

Emmetsburg would have the ball for the rest of the first quarter and throughout the early minutes of the second, but a stalled drive after an E-Hawk holding penalty and incomplete pass forced a Dunlap punt on 4th & 19.

With the West Hancock offense starting on their own 16-yard line, they would again drive the ball downfield to score with 3:45 left in the half. A 2-point conversion was stopped at the 1-yard line by Griffin.

The E-Hawks would go three and out on their next possession, again punting to West Hancock who would score in four plays. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty would keep the Eagles from an additional 2-points, keeping the score at 26-13 going into halftime.

The third quarter was dominated by an Eagles scoring drive that ended at the 4:45 mark, when Smith ran a 42 yard breakaway sprint into the endzone and Hagen ran in a 2-point conversion, bringing West Hancock to 34 points.

The E-Hawks offense would try to find their rhythm, helped along by defensive penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct and pass interference, along with a Ruiz 15 yard run, but the drive stalled with 11 seconds left in the quarter when Dunlap was sacked on 4th & 11.

After a quick first down by West Hancock, the E-Hawk defense made a stand when, early in the fourth quarter, Kassel and Griffin held Smith to no gain on 1st & 10 and Jon Lace II knocked the ball out of Hagen's hands on 2nd & 10, allowing for a Dunlap fumble recovery.

Another defensive penalty on the Eagles allowed for an Emmetsburg first down, but the drive stalled again after a Dunlap sack and a false start penalty forced a 4th & 20 punt.

The Eagles scored on the next drive when Smith ran 57 yards for the score, tacking on an extra point with a Ben Martinez kick, bringing West Hancock to 41 points halfway through the 4th quarter.

The proceeding drive by Emmetsburg would go three and out, followed by the same from West Hancock.

The final drive for the E-Hawks offense would see sophomore Luke Carter step into the QB slot, running a few successful ground plays with carries from fellow sophomore Lane Auten and junior Weir.

"I thought our kids fought hard till the end," said Head Coach Mike Dunlap. "They played a physical, good football team. Obviously, we've got to get better in a lot of areas - offense, defense, special teams - but overall, I was proud of the way our kids competed and didn't quit."

The E-Hawks would finish with a total of 71 yards on the ground and 113 passing while defensively, Hoyman, Kassel, Lace II, Dunlap, and Foxhoven led in tackles.

The E-Hawks travel to Algona on Friday, Sept. 13 to face the Bulldogs.


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