The Hartley Sentinel-The Everly/Royal News - Serving O'Brien & Clay Counties

By Mike Petersen
Sports Editor & Staff Writer 

They meet again

H-M-S, West Hancock play for third time in just over a year


November 4, 2021

Jay Eilers

It seems inevitable that Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn and West Hancock would eventually meet in the Class A football playoffs.

The two teams played in the third round of the 2020 postseason at Britt, where West Hancock won, 56-18. During the 2021 regular season, H-M-S and West Hancock were paired again for a non-district matchup in Week 6. The defending Class A champions won that game, 20-6.

Now they meet again this Friday, again at Britt, and again with a berth in the playoff semifinals on the line.

The familiarity between the two teams suggests there won't be many surprises. The strength of both offenses is their running games. The key for the Hawks is to use what happened in the loss five weeks ago to their advantage.

"There were exactly 19 plays we watched that Monday where we were so close to having a good play. There were 19 plays we could watch and say, 'Hey, look where we were in this play,'" Hawk coach Jay Eilers said. "Each week there are always going to be plays to grow on and develop; make sure that we learn from those. I think that's the consistency we're trying to bring to our program."

H-M-S will rely on fundamentals in an attempt to prevent turnovers against the Eagles.

"I think that just comes down to let's make sure that we go back to basics to cover those scenarios and make sure we're going our jobs correctly," Eilers said. "The defense did a tremendous job minimizing the damage from the turnovers, but obviously we don't want to rely on that week in and week out. But in the scenarios that it happens, we can have confidence that we did it and we'll be ready to go."

The coach anticipates the Hawks will "play with their hair on fire" as they look to earn the opportunity to compete in one of the Class A semifinal games, at either 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11, in the UNI-Dome at Cedar Falls.


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