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Redhawks prevail in battle for 63 mantle over Pirates

North Tama now ranked 5th

North Tama quarterback Gabe Kopriva runs with the ball early in the first quarter Friday evening during the Redhawks Highway 63 matchup with the Hudson Pirates. Photo by Soren M. Peterson.

The Battle of Highway 63 played out last Friday night in Hudson with North Tama coming out on top in a resounding 30-6 win over the Pirates.

The 5th ranked Redhawks are now 3-0 for the season having logged previous wins over Belle Plaine and AGWSR.

Friday night’s game was a physical one from the start. North Tama’s starting quarterback Gabe Kopriva — currently ranked number three in the state for passing yards (785) — spent much of the first half scrambling in the backfield.

The phrase “Kopriva with the keeper” dominated so much of the announcer’s commentary that it seemed like a recording at times.

The Pirates defense was formidable and physical throughout the game with 51 total tackles to North Tama’s 36, but it still wasn’t enough to stop the tight knit Redhawks offense.

North Tama tight end Adam Greiner (left) celebrates in the endzone his first touchdown of the evening — which arrived just prior to halftime — with running back Aiden Zook (right). Following a good two point conversion, the Redhawks led the Pirates going into the second half 22-0. Photo by Soren M. Peterson

Both the first and second touchdowns of the game came from runs by Kopriva — one apiece in the first and second quarters with the second taking place after Kopriva snuck in one yard for the goal.

Just before the half, Kopriva connected with tight end Adam Greiner — a beautiful catch in the back right endzone that was good for a third touchdown.

Kopriva clocked 251 passing and 79 rushing yards for the Redhawks offense. The senior connected with five different receivers during the game against Hudson including six times with Greiner who gave the Redhawks not just one, but two touchdowns.

Wide receiver Devin McKinley made good on nine passes from Kopriva during the game for a total of 84 receiving yards. Running back Aiden Zook and wide receiver Michael Bell each caught two apiece while Michael Schrier caught one.

Linebacker Logan Rausch led the Redhawks defense with 7.5 tackles — five of those solo tackles — while Aiden Zook recorded 5.5 tackles (four solo) and Greiner recorded four (three solo).

The North Tama Redhawks line up during pregame practice last Friday in Hudson. The 29th ranked Redhawks claimed victory over the Hudson Pirates 30-6 in the Highway 63 battle. Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker

Despite numerous flags in the second half — so many penalties were called against North Tama in the fourth quarter for apparent false starts it seemed the only movement on the field was backward — the Redhawks kept the Pirates to just one touchdown and sealed their second win in a row against the Hudson team.

Following the game, North Tama Head Coach Taylor Wurth tweeted, “Highway 63 is claimed with a hard fought 30-6 battle against a well-coached Hudson team. We battled a lot of adversity, but continued to punch back. I’m proud of this team and can’t wait for homecoming.”

North Tama’s Homecoming game takes place this Friday, September 19 at Dennis Field. The Redhawks will take on Nashua-Plainfield (1-2) who hold a win over Central Springs and a pair of shutout losses to North Butler and Wapsie Valley. The two teams last faced each other in 2013 with the Huskies coming out on top 48-0.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in Traer.

North Tama kicks off at the start of the second half in their game last Friday against Hudson. Head Coach Taylor Wurth (right) looks on from the sidelines. Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker.

The Redhawks take a time out in the third quarter during last Friday’s away game against the Hudson Pirates. Photo by Soren M. Peterson

Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker.

North Tama running back Aiden Zook (11) takes off down the field during Friday night's game in Hudson. Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker

North Tama Head Coach Taylor Wurth speaks to his team from the sidelines during the 'Battle of Highway 63' last Friday night. Photo by Soren M. Peterson.

North Tama's starting quarterback Gabe Kopriva (1) warms up ahead of last Friday night's game in Hudson. Kopriva is currently ranked number three in the state for passing yardage (785). Photo by Soren M. Peterson.

Photo by Soren M. Peterson.

North Tama Head Coach Taylor Wurth, in his second year at the helm of the Redhawks, checks in with his team during a timeout last Friday night in Hudson. Photo by Soren M. Peterson

Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker.

Photo by Soren M. Peterson.

The Class A North Tama Redhawks are now ranked 5th. Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker.