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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

District champ G-H banged up but ready for South Hamilton

Tuesday, November 4, 2003

When a football coach talks about 'taking care of business,' he's usually referring to on-the-field execution.

But Sunday night, Galva-Holstein's Brad Knight used that phrase for a different reason.

"We're pretty banged up at this point in the season, as most teams are through nine games," Knight said. "We've got to get healthy fast and take care of business that way and we should be all right."

Healthy or not, the Pirates open first-round Iowa State football playoff action Wednesday night in Holstein against District 2's second place 1A finisher, South Hamilton.

The winner gets date in the quarterfinals against either West Lyon or Marcus-Meridian Cleghorn.

Knight, meanwhile, wasn't specific about which of his players was injured, how long each could be out or whether they'll be available for Wednesday night's game.

"We just have a lot of bumps and bruises, and I'm sure South Hamilton does, too," Knight said. "When you get this deep in the season, it's a war of attrition and depth always plays a factor. It's a matter of trying to get healthy fast."

The Knights enter first-round action as the District 9, 1A champion, and with a perfect 9-0 mark. It's been a memorable season thus for for Galva-Holstein, which was unscored upon in its first six games.

"They're tough both offensively and defensively," said South Hamilton coach Todd Coy. "I'm not sure we can keep up with them offensively because Galva-Holstein is explosive.

"So we'll have to hope for a low-scoring game and hope we can control time of possession and keep the ball away from them."

Added Knight: "Any team that comes out of that district with just two losses is a good football team. They run the ball extremely well and have good size in their offensive and defensive lines."

Galva-Holstein has been led on offense by the running of Tyler Gebers and Keith Hustedt and the passing of Kelly Otto. Knight wouldn't say whether any of those three players were hurt of if they would miss Wednesday night's game.

Meanwhile, South Hamilton has had some serious injury problems as well.

Two weeks ago, starting quarterback Nathaniel Feldman went down with a broken leg and knee injury, while fullback Brandon Holton was also lost.

"Depth is a problem for us at this point," added Coy. "That's a weakness."

South Hamilton's two losses were to West Hancock (14-3) and to Roland-Story (28-25). The Hawks also had a close call in a 14-12 win over Bishop Garrigan. It returns seven starters on offense from last year's 6-3 team and eight on defense, Coy said.

"We're a pretty veteran team," he said. "Our strength is our experience."

Added Knight: "They run the football extremely well behind some big offensive lineman and have a great group of experienced linebackers on defense."

The Hawks' go-to runner has been 5-foot-11, 170-pounder Adam Swalla. He's averaged over 140 yards rushing per game.

Up front on offense, South Hamilton returns all-district player Travis Head, a senior offensive guard. The Hawks average 210 rushing yards per game.

Defensively, South Hamilton is led in its 4-4 defense by linebackers Alex Hertzke, Swalla, Brandon Rholl and Head.

"They've been solid for us all season," Coy said. "They're tough kids who run well to the football. We've played well defensively all season, and that's another strength. Our big goal is not to give up the big play, and we've done that most game because our kids have handled their responsibilities well."

"We aren't going to try anything different that we have all season," Knight said. "On defense, we want to eliminate mistakes."

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