Hermantown football coach Mike Zagelmeyer felt his team handled itself well in preseason scrimmages against Esko, Duluth East and Cloquet last Saturday in Esko.
"There are plenty of things to work on moving forward, but I liked our physicalness overall," Zagelmeyer, the Hawks' legendary, veteran coach, said of the spirited scrimmages. "I thought defensively we were pretty good in the box, but we will need to be better on our perimeter defense -- and I am confident that we will."
Zagelmeyer singled out strong individual performances by burly running back Zach Thorsten, "who really showed his elusiveness in the open field running the ball" and lightening-quick wide receiver Kale Smith, "who had a really nice grab over the middle in one of the scrimmages."
"We basically got what we needed out of the scrimmagex, we learned some, we made some mistakes, we made some plays, but most importantly we came out of it healthy going into Week 1," said Zagelmeyer.
The Hawks, who finished 6-3 a year ago, open against traditional rival Proctor at 7 p.m. Friday at Terry Egerdahl Field in the annual The Hammer Game.
"It will be a little strange playing Proctor right out of the gates, but I know they are getting better as they are in year two of the new offensive install," Zagelmeyer said of the facing the rebuilding Rails, who were pounded in scrimmages against Rock Ridge, Denfeld and Barnum on Saturday morning at Public Schools Stadium in West Duluth.
"Crazy things always seem to happen in a Hermantown-Proctor game so I keep preaching to our players to follow the plan, not get too high or too low, and most importantly to do their job and take care of their responsibility," Zagelmeyer said.
The Hawks are also led by senior WR/DB Peyton Menzel (a Bulldogs commit), junior QB Alex Schott and seniors FB/LB Ryder Wrazidlo, WR/DB Brody Summers and FB/LB Connor Fure. Junior HB/LB River Freeman, an ultra-elite three-sport athlete, is another player to watch.
"We're extremely excited coming out of camp to get things rolling, and I have personally really enjoyed being around this group of young men," Zagelmeyer added.
2023 HAWKS SCHEDULE
Friday, Sept. 1 – at Proctor, 6 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 8 – at Cloquet, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 15 – North Branch, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 22 – Grand Rapids, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 29 – at Rock Ridge, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 6 – at Duluth East, 6 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 13 – Esko, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 18 – Denfeld, 7 p.m.
Note: All Hawks home games, listed in boldface, are held at Corey Veech Field.