Champion Coldwater took another step towards proving that they’re everything they have been, and showed what they’re yet to be, by shutting out another state champion…Minster!
Coldwater – Jack Hemmelgarn probably had no idea of what was to come.
On the other hand, if you believe in history repeating itself he should have been smiling ear to ear Friday night when he got to Cavalier Stadium.
It was almost a year ago to the day that he had stepped in for injured Brody Hoying and gave a dazzling performance at Minster to lead the Cavaliers to a hard-fought victory over what would become the eventual 2014 Division VI champions.
Friday he had the champs at home…and dazzled again!
In fact he was down right slick – completing 27 of 34 passes for 276 yards and a touchdown, and distributed the football to no less than five Coldwater receivers on the way to a convincing 28-0 win. And, he didn’t play favorites; they all had dazzling nights.
Running back Chris Post had 11 catches for 85 yards.
Wideout Aaron Harlamert had 6 catches for 75 yards and a touchdown.
Kraig Schoenherr had 3 catches for 14 yards.
Kyle McKibben had 3 catches for 52 yards.
And Zach Homan had 4 catches for 50 yards.
Yes, Jack (Hemmelgarn) was nimble (rushing 8 times for 17 yards), and Jack was slick, throwing with head-shaking accuracy on a wet night when the football and receivers’ hands were equally slick.
It wasn’t exactly demoralizing to a Minster team who entered the game with impressive numbers itself and a 2-0 record, just impressive.
But it was disappointing to a not-so-happy head coach Geron Stokes afterwards. To say he was economical with his words was an understatement. To say he was unhappy spoke volumes with just one word.
“We’re just not tough enough to win these (kind of) games right now,” he said matter-of-factly. “Our character isn’t right enough to win games against teams like Coldwater right now. We lay down and that’s my fault. It’s my job to get them to fight, and for some reason we come to Coldwater and lay down for these guys. We got to get better. I don’t know…we’re a growth-minded program right now and we simply have to get better.”
In defense of any perceived deficiencies Friday, Coldwater had an awful lot to do with making perception reality.
The Cavaliers dominated the line of scrimmage. Hemmelgarn was 27 of 34 in large part because he had all day to scan the field and pick out a receiver.
And Post, who had his most efficient night yet, picked up his 46 yards and three rushing touchdowns. He was no less a beneficiary of the outstanding play from tackle to tackle.
“It was crazy, shutting out a state champion football team like that,” smiled Post afterwards, visibly pumped by the completeness of his team’s victory. “But our defense was outstanding again and our offensive line picked up everything they tried to do, the blitzes, everything. We just have so many weapons right now.”
“We just continued to do the things tonight that we’re trying to do,” said Otten. “On offense we try to spread the wealth, and on defense we tried to make them go the long haul. We didn’t want to give them any big plays.
“Our O-line was outstanding tonight on protection for Jack. It’s playing really well right now and when we can get that and use all those receivers and Petey (Post) at running back it makes it really difficult to defend us.”
He couldn’t get away from a trio of waiting writers without words for his quarterback, and good words, at that!
“There’s no question that when you look at Jack on the sidelines he doesn’t look like a really good quarterback. But he is. He’s not a big, thick guy, but that just shows you how important the mental part of quarterbacking is. He’s really smart and he’s really accurate. You put those two things together and you have something. He made some great throws tonight and I’m really proud of Jack. He just keeps plugging away and he’s his own toughest critic.”
There was plenty of motivation, of course. Minster’s Josh Nixon came into Friday’s game as a pre-season all-state pick at quarterback…and justifiably so. But Coldwater’s defense sacked him three times and limited his effectiveness to just 10 completions in 22 attempts for 114 yards.
But Jack Hemmelgarn needs very little outside motivation. He has more than enough personal pride and respect for the legacy of those who have played before him.
“We did about everything we wanted to do tonight,” he said after accepting congratulations from family and friends. “Our offensive line was great. I had plenty of time to throw and Petey had those three rushing touchdowns. Our receivers made a lot of plays and our defense was tough all night.
He admits that the game has slowed down for him, just three games into what will be his one-year tenure at quarterback.
“It’s better because we were making plays and everyone was doing their part. The line was great, the defense was great, and that’s a very good football team we played. Nixon’s good and they have a lot of seniors playing. It was just a great team win for us. It was awesome.”
Well, that’s hardly enough word for a team that through three games has scored 105 points and given up 7.
And it’s hardly comforting to future opponents and those in Division V who will sit by and calculate about how to accommodate all those weapons at Jack Hemmelgarn’s disposal.
How to navigate around and through a defense that hasn’t missed a beat without Brody Hoying; and that may have more team speed without him.
Jack be slick!