Looking Back – The Hawkeyes Stun The Dux in 2012

by Nate Dreyer

Zeeland West. In the OK-Green conference seeing that school on a football schedule for the year typically leads to many immediately writing off that game as a loss. In fact, since October 12, 2012, no team from the OK-Green has given the Dux a loss in league play. That is over two years of total dominance from coach John Shillito’s team. The last time the “mighty Dux” fell was on that October night right here, in Hamilton, to the Hawkeyes.


The Dux came into the game as defending Division 2 state champions, and were seeking to capture a second straight title.In fact, many in the community didn’t even feel it was necessary to come to the stadium that Friday, and head coach Chris Myers addressed that to the team before the game as he told them that “…(those not in attendance) weren’t going to see what was going to happen that night… but, they’re going to regret it because (those in attendance) were about to see something great…”  However, everything was still stacked against the Hawkeyes, as Zeeland West was, in the words of coach Myers, “… one of the best four teams in the state…”


Hamilton came prepared that night as they were able to stop the Dux’ powerful offense early. Defensive Coordinator Brant Haverdink remembered that as a key moment in the course of the game  as he stated “I remember the first defensive possession of the game where we came off the line and stalemated the Zeeland offensive line and I knew our kids had showed up for the night.” The Hawkeyes took that start and jumped out to an early lead over the Dux, and seemed to have a good chance of stealing a win. However, as the game went on, the Dux were able to force themselves back into the contest. But, the underdog Hawkeyes never lost confidence in the moment.  Assistant coach Gregg Stoel remembered one of the main memories of the night being how much the Hawkeyes “… believed they could win…”


The game, fittingly, would come down to an incredibly close finish, as the Hawkeyes took over the ball with the clock running down in the fourth quarter, down by three to the Dux. Hamilton marched down the field, but eventually stalled out and faced a difficult fourth down and long  situation to keep the drive, and their chances alive. Quarterback Nick Kronemeyer heaved up a prayer on that fourth-and-long to receiver, Trenton Haverdink, who miraculously grabbed the ball over top of a defender. This all set up an eventual one-yard plunge into the endzone, to grab a 42-38 lead that would stick to the end, to complete the miraculous upset.

Hawkeye Trenton Haverdink pulls down a fourth down pass late in the fourth quarter to extend the game-winning drive.

Hawkeye Trenton Haverdink pulls down a fourth down pass late in the fourth quarter to extend the game-winning drive.

The game had incredible meaning for the Hawkeyes beyond it being just another conference win. The game was crucial toward the Hawkeyes push for the playoffs as assistant coach Kevin Spotts highlighted how “ Quality wins against perennial powerhouses always moves your team and coaches into a state of confidence and renewed energy.” All-in-all, the game truly will go down as a key game in the history of Hamilton football, and the lore of the victory will only continue to grow as OK-Green season is about to begin, and Zeeland West may continue that win streak this season. Coach Myers summed the game up perfectly by simply saying that “(the game) meant a lot.”