HARTINGTON - After earning a first District win over Wynot on Friday, Hartington-Newcastle now sets sights on Wausa this Friday.
The Wildcats will host the Vikings in a battle of 3-4 teams. Wausa is currently 0-3 in District play while HNS is 1-2.
“I think the win over Wynot helped us realize that if we play with maximum effort, we can compete with anyone,” said HNS coach Corey Uldrich. “It’s always nice to get off a losing streak and regain confidence in the things we’re trying to do.”
HNS will be challenged by Wausa quarterback Ghatlin Hegge. Hegge was a starting running back as a sophomore, but over the past two seasons he has taken a role under center, and he has excelled along the way. This season, Hegge has over 1,000 yards in the air along with another 700 more on the ground.
As a quarterback, Hegge is 71-124 for 1,104 yards with 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions. On the ground, Hegge has 721 yards on 101 carries for eight touchdowns.
“We think Hegge may be one of the best players in our class, so we know the challenge he presents,” said Uldrich. “He has a big arm and runs with the speed of a running back and power of a fullback. He really is a complete offensive player.”
Hegge has been so explosive through the air because of his targets. Seniors Drew Munter and Tyson Kaiser along with junior Ethan Baue have contributed for all but one reception. Kaiser leads the way with 429 yards on 22 receptions for four touchdowns. Baue follows him with 17 receptions for 364 yards and four scores. Munter leads the team in receptions with 29 for 288 yards and one touchdown.
Baue and Kaiser both have receiving touchdowns over 50 yards. Wausa has had the big play throughout the season to help give momentum. Uldrich knows this is something the defense will need to prevent.
“One of the biggest confidence boosts we got from the last week’s game was our ability to rush the passer and our coverage,” said Uldrich. “The previous week of practice will help us in that regard.”
This game ends a road trip for HNS that saw them traveling to Allen and Wynot. Now coming back home the Wildcats are eager for the hometown crowd and the familiarity of Russ Hochstein field.
“It feels like it’s been an eternity since we were at home, so being here the next two weeks is going to be nice,” said Uldrich. “We enjoy playing in front of the home crowd and like to defend our field.”
The Wildcats get to stay at home the last two weeks of the regular season. Trying to fight for a playoff spot, HNS will have a challenging last two games with Wausa this week and Bloomfield in the final week.
HNS will host Wausa on Friday at 7 p.m. on Russ Hochstein stadium.