By Sam Jordan
This Friday, October 3rd, the Hamilton Hawkeyes varsity football team will square off against the Zeeland West Dux. It’s a big week for the Hawkeyes; they’re facing the reigning Division 3 State Champions. Zeeland West is 5-0 and is ranked number 1 in the AP High School football poll. Hamilton finds itself at a 2-3 record, coming off of a heart-breaking 14-10 loss to rival Holland Christian. In addition to taking on the Dux this Friday, it’s homecoming week for the Hawkeyes.
Pass Offense Against Zeeland West
Passing against the Dux will be tough for the Hawkeyes, as the Dux have the upper hand in the physical match up. Senior quarterback Brady Mudd will need solid protection from Hamilton’s offensive line to give him enough time to find the open receiver, as the Hawkeyes will need to create separation between themselves and Zeeland’s secondary.
Run Offense Against Zeeland West
Hamilton enjoyed playing some power football in last week’s game against Holland Christian. Trenton Alexander was able to wreak havoc within the HC defense, and he finished with 29 carries for 105 yards on the night. Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, that won’t be the case this week. Coach Chad Miller said, “Physically, they will have an advantage. They are big and talented.” Hamilton most likely won’t be able to power the ball up the middle. They’ll need to get the ball into running back Nathan Pando’s hands, who will use his speed to get to the outside and move the ball up along the flanks.
Pass Defense Against Zeeland West
Zeeland West likes to run the Wing-T offense, using a fullback and two running backs. Their offense tends to trust their run game more than their passing game. Coach Miller described their offense as a unit who “will run a whole bunch of short plays, then hit the occasional big one.” Miller was right on point with that statement. Zeeland West quarterback Casey Brinks had only 2 passes in last week’s game against Unity Christian, with a 69-yard touchdown pass and a 71-yard touchdown pass. For Hamilton this week, they’ll need to be expecting that big pass play to come at any time, that way their secondary can shut down Zeeland’s receivers.
Run Defense Against Zeeland West
The key to stopping Zeeland West will be stopping their run game. Zeeland West’s Wing-T offense hasn’t been stopped by any team for years. West has two very talented running backs with Nick Jasch and Darius Perisee in the back field. These backs have a combined total of over 800 rushing yards on the season. If Zeeland West is to be stopped, then the Hawkeyes will need to get into the back field to slow down Jasch, who had 2 touchdowns and 142 yards against Unity, and Perisee, who had 1 touchdown with 100 yards.
Statistically, the odds aren’t great for the Hawkeyes this week. The Dux play good football, and their morale is high as Zeeland is still perfect on the season. Hamilton is 1 game shy of a .500 season, and taking down the number 1 team in Division 3 would be an incredible accomplishment for the Hawkeyes. My logical prediction for this week is as follows: Zeeland West will come out on top 42-14. Hamilton will have to play their hearts out to pull out a victory against the Dux.
Who knows? Maybe the Hamilton Hawkeyes will be the team to tarnish Zeeland’s perfect season.