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Beyond the Gridiron: Hawks Off to 2-0 Start with New Coach and New QB

Eyewitness Sports
Updated: September 11, 2018 10:38 PM

As Hermantown High School graduate, first-year football head coach Mike Zagelmeyer knew he didn't want the program to lose its tradition.

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"It's just something that I always thought was one of the most prestigious things that we have here at Hermantown High School - the head football coaching job," said Zagelmeyer.

Since its inception in 1941, the Hawks have had six head coaches prior to Zagelmeyer- three since 1973. Zagelymeyer spent over two decades alongside former head coach Daryl Illikainen and was coached by brothers Randy and Gary Bowen. He says that he's gotten to learn from some of the best, but knows that this season is an adjustment for everyone.

"With a change in leadership and the change in coaching, the kids, you want them to buy into what you're telling them. You hope to get them off to a fairly decent start and they start believing and hopefully we can get the momentum to snowball it from there.," added Zagelmeyer.

While some things won't change with Zagelmeyer at the helm, he has been trying some new offensive schemes.

"Zagelmeyer has opened up a lot of plays with us. A lot more passing and kind of adjusting to different runs games," said senior fullback and linebacker Adam Prouty.

The players seem to be buying into his new ideas, but there's nobody that wants to play for the Hawks more this season than senior quarterback Tate Hansen. He's sat on the sidelines the past three seasons after tearing his ACL twice, and his meniscus once.

"I was thinking, 'you know, do I really want to play football this year?,'" Hansen asked himself before the start of the season. "Everybody on the team, you're great friends with them and you don't want to let them down," he said about his decision to play this season.

Switching from tight end to quarterback isn't common, but Hansen knew that he would be better off avoiding contact and Zagelemeyer believed in him.

"He gave me a chance to play quarterback with four knee surgeries," said Hansen. "That's probably the position you want the most stability at and I don't think a kid that has only played five quarters of varsity football is considered to be stable," he added.

"For him to still want it, still go out and get it, to have to rehab from those two injuries it says a lot about him as a kid," said Zagelmeyer on Hansen.

The two of them have helped the Hawks get off to a 2-0 start to the season and they're hoping to keep it rolling against Duluth Denfeld on Friday.

"They have good big guys on their team, so we're just going to have to play physical. We're not big guys, we're just going to have to play physical," Prouty said on their game against Denfeld.

The Hawks will host the Hunters Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 P.M.

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