By, Nicklas Grifhorst
This Friday, the Hamilton Hawkeyes will take on the Hastings Saxons in their third game of the year. The Hawkeyes are now 1-1 after a Middleville was forced to forfeit the first game of the year after having an ineligible player. Hastings on the other hand is 0-2 after being shut out in both of their games this year.
Pass Offense vs. Hastings
Hamilton has an all-conference quarterback in Brady Mudd, but they have struggled to get things going offensively this year, scoring on only one pass play all year when Brady Mudd connected with Ryan Tolsma against Coopersville. Hamilton runs a spread offense, but will be small on the offensive line, whereas Hastings has bigger and stronger players than us. Hamilton will most likely need to run a lot of quick pass plays, as Brady Mudd won’t have much time to get the ball off.
Run Offense vs. Hastings
Hamilton’s run offense is a different story. That is where all the offense has come from with Nathan Pando scoring twice this year, once on a kick return and once on a long run. I would expect more of the same from Pando this week as teams have ran well against Hastings all of this year. I would expect to see Hamilton run on 1st and 2nd down a lot on Friday as Nate’s speed will give Hamilton the best chance to score against a much bigger Hastings.
Pass Defense vs. Hastings
Hastings runs a wing-t with minimal if any plays coming from the spread. With the size advantage on the line, I wouldn’t be surprised if Hastings doesn’t pass at all.
Run Defense vs. Hastings
Hamilton gave up tons of yards on the ground last year in their 40-30 loss to Hastings, most of the yards came from the fullback trap. Coach Miller says, “We have spent a lot of time this year ‘fixing’ what was wrong in that situation. It has impacted the way we play – even against other opponents.” I would expect to see a much improved and hungry Hamilton defense going into this game.
My prediction is that Hamilton will come away with a 24-17 win. I wouldn’t look for much passing on either side, and I believe that Nate Pando’s speed will be too much for Hastings. I would look for Hamilton to run Pando to the outside a lot and try to get him into open field. I also expect Hamilton to make a big play or two on special teams, specifically on kick returns where they have already had one touchdown this year.
The game will be played this Friday at Hamilton, it will start at 7:00 pm.