Redhawks fall to Hudson 24-2 in debut

Quarterback Josh Dostal, a junior, looks to pass during a play last Friday against Hudson. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

HUDSON – Playing without their starting quarterback Kolt Knaack for the first half of the game last Friday night, the Redhawks gave up their season opener, 24-2, to Hudson.

Knaack, a junior, was ineligible for the first half due to issues that first year head coach Andrew Knaack declined to comment on. Junior Josh Dostal stepped into the role for the younger Knaack, throwing for six yards and connecting with two of his receivers out of eight attempts. The score was kept at a manageable 10-2 following the first half.

In the second half, Kolt Knaack was back behind center where he threw for 28 yards – connecting with three out of his seven attempts. He also carried the ball a dozen times for 63 yards.

Defensively, the Redhawks notched a total of 48 tackles with senior Ryan Hosek leading the team with seven tackles (three solo).

After an early touchdown by the Pirates, North Tama’s only two points came toward the end of the first quarter following a dropped punt-attempt by Hudson near their own endzone – after what was characterized as a ‘perfect snap’ by several members of the chain crew – with North Tama securing the safety.

North Tama junior quarterback Kolt Knaack looks for a running lane during last Friday’s football game against Hudson. Knaack was the Redhawks’ leading rusher, gaining 63 yards on 12 carries, in their 24-2 loss to the host Pirates. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

“I think we did well our first time out for the year,” Coach Knaack told the Telegraph. “We did get pushed around at times in the game. The heat and depth got to us. There were points [during] the game we were tired. It is something we have to figure out and play through it.”

Coach Knaack cited both the safety and a later interception by sophomore Clayton Williams as highlights of the game, as well as Josh Dostal’s leadership in the first half.

“Josh played well the first half at quarterback and kept us in a spot to have a strong second half. … The third quarter we only got to touch the ball one time. That kind of made us play a little slower giving up those two [touchdowns] in that quarter.”

“Defensely we played a strong game – need to clean a few things up going into district play this upcoming week. But, that and special teams were the bright spots on Friday.”

Another bright spot for the team this season is the return of retired Redhawk football coach Tom McDermott who has joined North Tama alumnus Coach Knaack’s staff.

Captains (from left) Ryan Hosek, Tyler Popelka, Josh Dostal (hid- den) and Gavin Rausch line up for the coin toss before the team’s season-opening Battle of Highway 63 in Hudson last Friday night. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

“[McDermott] was part of the staff when I played [for North Tama]. But, you think of Redhawk football you think of Tom McDermott. When I took on this position as head coach, I wanted to put the best staff we could have. Dalton Hulme is calling the plays as the offensive coordinator. Brice Girkin is calling the defensive plays as [defensive] coordinator. Part of the plan with the staff starting this way was only if we could have Coach McDermott give us guidance and help us with a lot of the inside parts of football. He showed up during the summer – that turned into him fully diving in and back on the staff.”

Also back on the gridiron this season as part of the coaching staff is North Tama Class of 2022 graduate Gabe Kopriva who started at quarterback for the Redhawks during his high school career.

“Gabe reached out to me in the spring as soon as he found out I was the head coach and asked what he would have to do to be able to coach. Having him on staff to help with the QBs and RBs has been awesome. Why not bring in the school record holder for passing yards if [given] the opportunity? He also brings excitement … Most of the kids have seen him play and know what he can bring to this staff.”

This week the Redhawks are set to face No. 8 (preseason/The Gazette) Nashua-Plainfield (1-0) in a district road game. Last week the Huskies shut out Postville 46-0 in their season opener.

In an echo of last week’s comments, Coach Knaack said in order to win the team has to “be physical” this season.

North Tama first year head coach Andrew Knaack, left, pictured on the sidelines alongside assistant coach Gabe Kopriva during the Redhawks season opener played in Hudson last Friday. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

“We are not a deep team, so we have to be in shape. … be disciplined and take care of your job on the field … Getting players in the positions to help us succeed will be big this week and most importantly we have to be confident and play Redhawk football.”

Kickoff on Friday night is set for 7 p.m. at the high school in Nashua.

Quarterback Josh Dostal (5) squares up for the snap alongside runningback Tyrus Luker (12) during the first quarter. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

North Tama senior Jared Dvorak (3), manager Danika Wrage, and assistant coach Gabe Kopriva pictured on the field during a water break last Friday night in Hudson. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER


Redhawk co-captain Tyler Popelka pictured on the field during a timeout last Friday. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

Gabe Kopriva, a 2022 North Tama graduate and now a member of the Redhawks coaching staff, is pictured during a timeout in Hudson. Kopriva currently holds the North Tama school records for passing yards, most completions and most passes attempted. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

Redhawk starting quarterback Kolt Knaack warms up on the sidelines ahead of the second half against the Hudson Pirates last Friday. Knaack was ineligible to play during the first half of the team’s season opener. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER