GETTING THE HANG OF IT — Junior Alex Suchan led Hamburg to a division win at Iroquois. File photo courtesy of Ron Larson.
When the Hamburg football team lost starting quarterback Colin Daly for the season back on Sept. 13, they could have called one of two plays. Play one was to fold. Play two: keep fighting.
They proved that Bulldogs don’t go down easy, by choosing to not quit. They have put their faith in junior signal-caller Alex Suchan, who has had a hand in Hamburg’s recent success.
Since Suchan became the starter, the Bulldogs have won two of three games (2 – 3 overall), including a come-from-behind 15 – 14 win on the road against Iroquois, in which Suchan played his best game of the season.
Hamburg also remained in the Class A playoff hunt, moving ahead of Iroquois in the South Division, with a game against first-place South looming Friday, Oct. 11.
“For a junior, [Suchan] shows a lot of heart and a lot of grit,” said Hamburg assistant coach Jeff Tripp, stepping in for head coach Pat Cauley who was away, due to a family situation. “I’m really proud of the effort tonight. He made some great plays.”
Suchan completed 11 of 18 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown. He spread the ball to five different receivers, with Alec Seifer’s and Griffin Ryan’s leading the way with three receptions each and Bryce Hite’s hauling in two catches, including a 34-yard touchdown during the second quarter.
He stepped up his game late in the third quarter and into the fourth, when he led his team on a 13-play, 91-yard drive that took nearly 8 minutes off the clock. The drive was capped by a 9-yard touchdown run by junior Mark Miles, which resulted in the game’s deciding points. Suchan was 3 of 3 for 31 yards and had a 15-yard run on third-and-one on the drive. Junior Mitch Gomolka added 7 carries for 29 yards and Miles had two for 17, during the scoring march.
“I just went to the huddle and told them to calm down,” Suchan said. “We just drove down the field. We knew we were going to get it.”
Suchan has thrown for almost 500 yards and four touchdowns this season and can also get the job done with his feet. He carried the ball five times against Iroquois for 36 yards. He was one of many to contribute to the Bulldogs’ running game, which totaled 170 yards for the game.
Gomolka led the way, with 17 carries for 89 yards. Miles added 11 carries for 31 yards and has now run for 430 yards this season including a season-high 203 yards and 4 touchdowns.
“We have great running backs,” Suchan said. “We’ve had them since modified year. I’ve had them in my backfield. They open up the pass game and we can utilize them, play-action.”
The Bulldogs defense intercepted Iroquois’ quarterbacks three times in the game and allowed fewer than 200 yards of total offense. After starting quarterback Josh Piescysnki was knocked out of the game with a right shoulder injury in the second quarter, Hamburg held backup Kyle Siefert to 45 yards on 3 of 10 passing. Senior running back Brad Achman scored both Chiefs’ TDs.
The players said they had their missing head coach and his family in mind, throughout the game, and were focused on picking up a road win for him.
“Any win is a great win,” said Tripp. “We knew [Cauley] wanted to be here. We felt that we could use that as some inspiration to play a little harder to get the win for Coach Cauley and his wife, Lisa. That was a big part of It. We’ve had close games this year and we just knew it was a matter of finishing and making a couple extra plays and, obviously, tonight it worked in our favor.”