Night Hawks feeling good about 1st seasonHettinger had trouble getting players out last year. With a new co-op, the Hettinger-Scranton Night Hawks are ready to play some football.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Hettinger had trouble getting players out last year. With a new co-op, the Hettinger-Scranton Night Hawks are ready to play some football.
This is the first season of Hettinger and Scranton’s co-op. They’ll play in 9-man, Region 4.
“I think it’s a very good fit for us,” said Hettinger-Scranton head coach Randy Burwick, who coached Hettinger for eight seasons. “The kids are meshing very well together right now. I’m very pleased with where we are at this point in the season.”
Scranton didn’t have to wait long to play its former co-op partner, Bowman County. The teams opened the season against each other on Aug. 23.
“This is a big incentive for us in Hettinger, because we used to have a great rivalry with Bowman County,” Burwick said. “We had the Battle for the Bone. It’s just a big rivalry and it’s great to get it back.
“I think there are going to be a lot people at the game and its going to be very electric.”
The Night Hawks have a solid group of seniors taking the field, including defensive end Justin Caldwell and quarterback Ben Laufer from Hettinger, and tailback Dalton Reitz and defensive end Dalton Williams from Scranton.
“Those four have done a great job being fantastic senior leaders up to this point,” Burwick said. “They have a high energy at practice, good focus and work hard.
“We look for those four guys to really step up.”
Stephen Kristy, a 6-foot-2 junior tight end and linebacker is also back, as well as junior receiver Brandon Hill.
Hettinger-Scranton also has a handful of youthful players with game experience.
Sophomores Denby Lueck, Ben Pearson and Kye Erickson all got quality playing time last season and have already been excelling so far this season, Burwick said.
“They got extensive playing time a year ago,” Burwick said. “Just to see the growth from a year ago to this point is amazing.”
Junior running back and linebacker Coli Tomac has been improving each and every practice, Burwick added, and looks to be competing for a starting position. Sophomore fullback and linebacker Christian Hughes has also shown some passion out on the field.
“Christian (Hughes) is going to be a really good player for us,” Burwick said.
“We have a boat load of kids and if you would have seen them two weeks ago to right now, you probably wouldn’t recognize them.”
With the amount of talented underclassmen, Burwick is happy about the Night Hawks’ potential.
“It’s just nice to know you have a catalyst and they are going to come back,” Burwick said. “The excitement is that you have them for a few more years also.”
Despite all the changes to the lineups and the teams, one will always remain the same — playoffs.
“We start the season with the same goal every year,” Burwick said. “We want to be a playoff team.
“We play in a very good conference and we have very good players.”
Hettinger-Scranton Night Hawks
Head coach: Randy Burwick
Last season: First season as co-op.
Returners: Justin Caldwell, Sr., DE/TE; Ben Laufer, Sr., WR/QB/DB; Dalton Reitz, Sr., RB/LB; Dalton Williams, Sr., DE/OT; Stephen Kristy, Jr., TE/DE/LB; Brandon Hill, Jr., WR/DB.
Newcomers: Denby Lueck, So., C/DL; Ben Pearson, So., OG/LB; Kye Erickson, So., QB/WR/DB; Coli Tomac, Jr., RB/LB; Christian Hughes, So., FB/LB.
Losses: John Lewis, OL/DL; Drew Kugel, DB; Dylan Chadwick, WR; Ryan Engle, WR; Ander Thompson, QB.
2011 schedule: Aug. 23–vs. Bowman County at Scranton, 7 p.m.; Aug. 27–vs. Center-Stanton at Badlands Activities Center, 11:30 a.m.; Sept. 3–at Divide County, 1 p.m.; Sept. 9–vs. Parshall, 6 p.m.; Sept. 16–at Mott-Regent, 7 p.m.; Sept. 23–vs. Beach, 7 p.m. Sept. 30–at Trenton-Trinity Christian, 6 p.m.; Oct. 7–vs. Central McLean, 6 p.m.; Oct. 14–at Shiloh Christian, 6 p.m.