On Homecoming night on Hawk Hill, there would be no late game heroics or last second field goals to win the game as had happened in the Hawks first three games of the season.
This time the Hawks opponent, Fleetwood, took advantage of Hamburg Area’s miscues (four fumbles), controlled the line of scrimmage when the Hawks had the ball, and scored in just about every imaginable way in the Tigers, 52-7, win on Sept. 20.
Fleetwood scored on offense (2 passing, 1 rushing, 2 field goals), on defense (returning a Hawk fumble for a TD) and on special teams (2 safeties, a fumble recovery in the endzone and a kick off return for a TD).
The Tigers jumped out to a 9-0 lead before its offense stepped on the field.
Fleetwood scored when it recovered a bad snap on a Hamburg punt in the end zone. The Tigers recorded a safety when the Hawks once again had a bad snap on a punt sail into the end zone.
“We killed ourselves on special teams,” Hamburg Area coach Joe Sinkovich said. “You can’t do that and expect to be in the game against good teams.”
Fleetwood benefited from a short field after Hamburg had to punt from its 10 following the safety and the Tigers had excellent field position at the Hawk 41 to start its first drive of the game.
The Tiger drive stalled at the Hamburg 5 and Matt Hook kicked a 23-yard field goal to put the Tigers ahead, 12-0, after one quarter of play.
Fleetwood began to pull away in the second quarter when quarterback Zach Koenig threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Michael Allen with 6:00 left in the half and the Tigers scored again when Tyler Emge returned a fumble 37 yards for a touchdown with 35 seconds left in the half to give the Tigers a 26-0 lead.
Things did not get better for the Hawks in the second half.
Hook added a 33-yard field goal to finish a drive that started at midfield after the Tigers recovered an onside kick attempt by Hamburg.
Then it was deja vu for both teams when the Hawks had a bad snap on a punt sail into the end zone for the third time in the game adding two more points to the Tigers’ lead (31-0).
On the ensuing kickoff the Fleetwood special teams were at it again when Allen returned the kick 53 yards for the score and a 38-0 Tiger advantage with 9:21 left in the quarter.
The Tigers added to its lead in the fourth quarter when Koenig connected with Emge for a 55-yard touchdown and 45-0 lead.
The Hawks finally scored when Cody Miller scored on an 11-yard run with 2:28 left in the game. The drive was aided by three Fleetwood penalties.
“We knew that Fleetwood’s D-line was very good,” Sinkovich said. “The big story is that they controlled the line (of scrimmage) and our offense couldn’t move the ball. My hats off to them.
“I thought our defense played pretty well. I told our team that we need to play a full game, but two out of three (phases) didn’t play one tonight.”
The Hawks will be back in action on Sept. 27 when it travels to Kutztown to play the Cougars.
Fleetwood will entertain Schuylkill Valley on Saturday, Sept. 28.