Hamlin outlasts Hanson for OT win in Class 9AA quarterfinals
In a battle of 8-1 teams entering Thursday, the Chargers had the lone score in overtime to break a tie between closely matched foes
HAYTI, S.D. — For a second straight season, overtime was unkind to the Hanson football team in the Class 9AA quarterfinals.
Hamlin earned a late stop on a close two-point play in regulation and Luke Fraser scored the decisive 10-yard rushing touchdown in overtime Thursday to send the host Chargers to a 26-20 win and secure a trip to top-seeded Wall for the Class 9AA semifinals next week. Hanson ends the year at 8-2.
"What do you say? It's a heart-breaking loss," Hanson coach Jim Haskamp said after the game. "I'm proud of the kids, not just how they played but the way they conducted themselves all season long. They're never giving up. I'm just proud of them."
Hanson had the ball first in OT, and moved it one yard in three plays and then had a fourth-and-goal touchdown pass negated by an illegal motion. From the 14-yard line, Jackson Jarding nearly found Ethan Cheeseman for a touchdown in the center of the end zone but the pass glanced off his outstretched hands.
On the next play, with Hamlin (9-1) needing any score to win the game, Fraser knifed through the center of the Hanson defense in a way he rarely did all night and then dived at the goal line to reach the end zone for the touchdown that sends Hamlin out west next week.
"The kids bounced back. We gave up a tough touchdown to let them score late in the game," said Hamlin coach Jeff Sheehan. "They gathered and we composed ourselves and they played the game we needed to. We just ran a power play and got the 10 yards we needed. That was an emotional win in this game."
Trailing by six points with 4 minutes to go, Hanson got the big score to tie the game and force OT. The Beavers drove to the Hamlin side of the field where they were held up with a fourth-and-1 at the Charger 37, where they got Hamlin to jump offsides and extend the drive with a minute left.
After a sack, Jayce Slaba found Riley Haynes on a deep post route over the middle of the field, where Haynes hauled it in and covered the final 10 yards to tie the game for Hanson with 51 seconds left. The conversion run play went to Jarding, who swept to the left but was stopped at the goal line, leaving the margin at 20-all for overtime.
Hanson got on the board first in the game, with Cheeseman hauling in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Jayce Slaba in the early in the second quarter on a fourth-and-17 play for a 6-0 lead. Hamlin answered when Trey Stormo caught a 67-yard pass from Tyson Stevenson on a wide-open wheel route that put the Chargers up 7-6 at the halftime huddle, erasing the pain from a pair of first half fumbles for Hamlin.
Stormo added to the lead to start the second half, with a 2-yard touchdown run to give the Chargers their biggest lead of the game at 14-6 with 9:27 left in the third quarter. After the two teams traded punts and fourth-down stops, Jackson Jarding restarted the Hanson offense with a 37-yard touchdown run and the ensuing two-point run tied the game at 14-all with 8:17 left.
The Chargers answered, with a 1-yard Stevenson scoring sneak to go ahead 20-14 with 4:10 left after a failed two-point run. Sheehan said he made the call to go for two because he wanted the eight-point lead and be protected if Hanson scored and assuredly went for two.
It's the second straight season Hanson has felt overtime heartbreak in this round. The Beavers lost 26-24 to eventual state champion Platte-Geddes in 2021 in overtime.
For Hamlin, Fraser finished with 80 yards on 20 carries. Tyson Stevenson was 9-for-16 passing for 157 yards, with six passes and 136 yards going to Stormo.
For Hanson, Jarding finished with 160 yards on 23 carries. Slaba was 10-for-24 passing for 163 yards. Haynes finished with 110 yards on four grabs, while Hadley Wallace had 40 yards on five catches.
Between targets Haynes and Cheeseman, the Beavers had an explosive passing game from Slaba. Haskamp said the plan wasn't to throw as much as they did but they were having success moving the ball through the air.
"That part of our game really started clicking toward the end of the year," Haskamp said. "We've had some good weapons and we've tried to utilize them. I think they came through for us. I can't say I was planning on throwing it that much but we had some success with it."
Hamlin, however, moves on, with the top-ranked Eagles now ahead.
"They've got athletes all over the field. They spread you out, they're fast, they play on the turf, it's all there," Sheehan said. "We're going to go back to the drawing board and try to give them fits the best we can."