Eagles Advance to Quarterfinals

West Hancock senior Kale Zuehl (#7) finds the gap against Starmont during the second round of IHSAA football playoffs Friday in Arlington. Mariah Hagen photo

ARLINGTON– The No. 3 West Hancock football team (9-1) played its round of 16 game on Friday, Oct. 27, defeating the No. 9 Starmont Stars (8-2) by a score of 49-10. With the win, the Eagles advance to the playoff quarterfinals.

"Our team had a great night Friday and were very crisp,” stated coach Mark Sanger. “It was a defensive battle for most of the first quarter and we were able to break through at the end of the first with a long td run by Mitchell Smith.  This was followed shortly by a sack fumble recovered in the end zone by our defense (Nolan Vaske). From there, our guys relaxed and did things very well efficiently.”

The Eagles were cruising from start to finish, gobbling up yards while keeping the Stars off the field for large stretches. West Hancock made the most of their eight pass attempts by throwing for 146 yards and three touchdowns, while gaining 334 yards on the ground for three more touchdowns. The Stars were held to 182 total yards of offense. 

Mitchell Smith did the passing for the Eagles, going 5/8 for 146 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed for 84 more yards on eight carries for another touchdown. Kellen Smith was his primary receiver, hauling in three passes for two touchdowns and 117 yards. Zack Beukema had one catch for 28 yards and a touchdown. Brady Bixel had one catch for a yard. 

Leading the way in the rushing attack was Kellen Smith, who had five runs for 92 yards and a touchdown. Kale Zuehl had 10 runs for 44 yards and a touchdown. Gustavo Gomez chipped in 42 yards on three carries, Bixel added 44 yards, and Jaxen Peterson had 22 yards. 

Zuehl successfully converted three PAT attempts, and Broady Baltzer was 1/1 in PAT kicks. 

The Eagles defense tallied 37 tackles, five for a loss, and two for sacks. West Hancock also collected a fumble recovery, courtesy of Nolan Vaske. Creighton Kelly had six tackles, five were solo. Mitchell Smith had four and a half tackles, one sack, and a tackle and a half for a loss. David Smith had three and a half tackles. Bixel and Beukema each had three tackles. Recording two tackles each were Teague Smith, Zuehl, Kaysen Broshar, Nolan Vaske, and Ray Gretillat. 

“Our guys did a great during the week with our preparation and really seemed to be focused for this week,” Sanger noted. “Our intensity was top notch and will need to continue as we move forward in the playoffs."

West Hancock plays its quarterfinal playoff game on Friday, November 3rd at 7 PM when they’ll play No. 5 Wapsie Valley (9-1) in Fairbank.



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