The Chaska Hawks are off to a 4-0 start in 2017. Friday night after getting out to an early advantage, they put together a clutch fourth-quarter drive to retake the lead. The defense then stood tall to hold off one final push…
The Chaska Hawks are off to a 4-0 start in 2017. Friday night after getting out to an early advantage, they put together a clutch fourth-quarter drive to retake the lead. The defense then stood tall to hold off one final push from the Orono Spartans.
Chaska’s Micah Roane – who has a preferred walk on offer from the University of Minnesota – was the most complete player on the field. In fact, he rarely came off the field.
Roane started the game by booming a kickoff into the end zone for a touchback. He would put a second kickoff into the end zone later in the game. The senior also punts and is the place kicker. He made two out of three extra points – one was partially blocked and had two forty-plus punts and one that traveled over fifty yards.
At defensive end, Roane gets off blockers quickly when he is not double teamed. While not always able to get off double teams, normally his worst-case scenario was a stalemate against two blockers. Roane did injure his back early in the second half. He missed about five plays on defense and took more time off on the offensive side of the ball. He showed his toughness by staying in there and was still effective, but although he would deny it was in obvious discomfort in the second half.
“We just believe in ourselves,” Roane said when asked about the Hawks’ 4-0 start. “After the first game – our overtime win – we found out we could do it. Just keep going and try to go 1-0 each week.”
Defensively, Ian Monteith and Lane Schmidt did some good work on the outside. They worked together to string out a run to the outside that resulted in a short gain.
Monteith took advantage of a ball that was tipped at the line of scrimmage. He tracked down the floating football and collected the interception. Later Orono tried to hit a deep crossing route. The ball was slightly behind the receiver and it was just enough for Monteith – who closed quickly on the receiver and took the ball right off the receiver’s back hip for the interception.
Defensive back Payton Hruska Bellcour read a short route and cut in front of the receiver nearly coming up with an interception.
Mike Donovan is a good athlete at nose tackle. He is strong enough to hold down the middle and he is athletic enough to chase down ball carriers both downfield and down the line of scrimmage.
Outside linebacker Evan Oetter had some explosive moments off the edge. Most notably he came on a blitz and closed quickly on the quarterback for a sack.
“Defensively we had some lapses tonight,” Chaska head coach Bryan Dahl said. “The reason we have been so good is that we have been disciplined, we pull the trigger and are physical.”
Offensively, quarterback Connor Souba lined up in the shotgun most of the game. He moves well in the pocket, throws well on the run and generally made good decisions on the read option. He accounted for three of the four Hawks’ touchdowns – all on the ground.
Souba was very accurate with his underneath throws and the offense moved best when he was executing the read option or when he was working the underneath routes. Where he struggled was with the deep ball. He missed – sometimes badly – open receivers on at least three deep balls before finally hitting Nolan Hansen on a deep ball down the middle that set up a fourth quarter touchdown that would give them a lead they would not give up.
Souba’s first long run came behind right guard Roane and right tackle Ethan Jackman.
Colden Dodds only caught a few balls, but was rarely done after the catch. He made people miss and picked up yards after the catch.
Hansen was Souba’s top target. In addition to the deep ball that set up the game winning touchdown Hansen showed good hands and routes. He caught eight balls – none bigger than the fourth quarter grab.
In the first half and then again late, Andrew Stoffel, Isaac Martig, Maxwell Lommel, Roane and Jackman controlled the trenches giving Souba and running back Marcus Holasek room to run.
Holasek showed he is not a one-trick pony. He was involved in pass protection and picked up blitzes to keep his quarterback clean.
Unlike the two shutouts the Hawks were coming off, the game against Orono was anything but clean, but it showed Chaska has many ways and many players with which to win.