South Hardin under new management
ELDORA — When the South Hardin football team takes the field this season, there will be a mix of old and new, as first-year head coach Nick Eller takes over a Tigers football team that returns quite a few players from 2017.
South Hardin has already gotten off to a great start, taking down Iowa Falls-Alden 16-14 in a game that was rife with emotions after honoring former player Cody Haley, a marine who was killed in a training exercise only a few weeks before the season began.
Eller said so far, the team has adjusted well to his approach to the game.
“The kids have really bought into the things I want to do like the weight room being a big deal and practicing at a certain tempo and effort level every day,” Eller said. “I think we have maybe had one practice where it was addressed that we weren’t at that level, so that’s pretty good for our first year and the first go around.”
When it comes to his approach on the field, Eller said he prefers more of a traditional offensive game plan with a heavy dose of the run game, but he doesn’t mind airing it out if the situation calls for it.
“I like to ground and pound and run over people when you have the guys to do it but I also understand you can’t sit there and do that when you’ve got every guy in the box so I am perfectly fine with hoping into four receivers and hoping in there and throwing it when it comes time,” he said. “We are going to be versatile, I would like to be 60-40 run to pass, but that will just depend on how the game is going.”
Of course if the Tigers would like to improve on their 3-6 record from last year and challenge for a Class 2A District 3 title, they will have to be potent on defense as well. Eller said they will bring a more simplistic approach to the defensive end this season, in order to encourage his athletes to react in the field of play and not overthink situations.
“We’ll be in a lot of 4-3 or 5-2 type of stuff, nothing nobody has seen,” he said. “We aren’t hiding anything or doing a lot of stuff that hasn’t been done. Our biggest thing with both offense and defense going into this season with the kids is to be simple but be good at it. We are getting really close to that, I can see the light coming on for some guys and it is starting to become easier because they are not thinking while they are playing. I want them playing fast and not thinking, just play.”
What will truly help the team adjust to this new approach Eller brings is a senior class that Eller said is completely bought in. Starting with returning quarterback Kolton Rewoldt, Eller said to a man the seniors have done their part in leading the squad early on in the season.
“About every senior we have back has been helpful,” Eller said. “Kevin Rewoldt and Kolton Rewoldt as the quarterback obviously, they are twins and have done some unbelievable work. Tommy Platte, Jason Skartvedt, Jacob Fox, Logan Spindler, Hunter Allen in that group and then Brock Hollingsworth and Ryne Fuller, all those guys are our senior group and I haven’t seen any one of them not lead at some point. It has been awesome and they want to see this thing go out their last year with a winning season because they haven’t had one. That’s been one of our big pushes, sending them out the right way and let’s get this thing rolling.”