Duluth East made Hermantown work for its 42-6 victory at Ordean Stadium last Friday night, although the final score might indicate otherwise. "Our guys always enjoy playing Duluth East -- there have been some great games in the past with them -- however, this was not one of them," legendary Hawks coach Mike Zagelmeyer said afterwards. "I thought we came out slow again and had way too many turnovers and penalties in the first half. With that being said, we played a pretty solid second half.
"Our defense allowed a total of 129 yards of offense to Duluth East of which only four were on the ground and we turned them over four times. That is pretty impressive for our defense, who I think continually is getting better from week to week."
Junior quarterback Alex Schott completed 10-of-17 passes for 193 yards and four touchdowns, including 37- and 18-yard scoring strikes to senior wide receiver and Bulldogs recruit Peyton Menzel.
Hermantown led 14-6 at the half before exploding for 21 unanswered points in the third quarter.
Menzel had another "Peyton type game" and Schott continued to spread the ball around, Zagelmeyer said.
"This week Brody Summers also really stepped up for us offensively with two big touchdown catches for a total of 50 yards," said Zagelmeyer. "For us to be successful it can't just be the Peyton show."
Zagelmeyer singled out the play of punishing linebacker Connor Fure, who had 12 solo tackles against the 1-5 Greyhounds.
"I think Connor is really playing well right now for us," said Zagelmeyer. "Teams are starting to take notice of him."
Zach Thorsten, who rushed for 80 yards on 13 carries (6.2 yards per carry average) scored on a three-yard touchdown and Dakota Rowan added an eight-yard running touchdown, both in the second half. The Hawks finished with 115 total rushing yards.
"There was some nice offensive balance in the second half," Zagelmeyer said.
Hermantown (5-1) will host Esko (6-0) at 7 p.m. Friday at Centricity Stadium. The Eskomos blitzed Hibbing 63-0 last Friday night at Cheever Field in Hibbing.
"This upcoming week is obviously our biggest test to date," said Zagelmeyer. "It's Homecoming and there is a lot of noise surrounding this game. We need to make sure we stay focused all week and work on the things that will put us in the best position to be successful on Friday night.
"I am really looking forward to this game and watching us compete against one of the best teams in northern Minnesota. This is the first time we have played Esko in the regular season for as long as I have been associated with Hermantown Football, so it should be a great environment playing our next door neighbor."
Hawks Notes: Daryl Illikainen will be inducted into the Hermantown Football Hall of Fame at halftime Friday night.
"Daryl was one of the all-time greats at Hermantown as a player and as a coach, one of my closest friends and someone who I have always looked up to and admired," said Zagelmeyer. "It's a well deserved honor and we are so happy he is going to be in attendance Friday night."