Redhawks fly past Comets for homecoming win, 36-6

Hansen, Taylor crowned North Tama homecoming royalty

North Tama tight end Josh Dostal (5) pictured leaping into the air on Traer’s Dennis Field while receiving a pass from Redhawk quarterback Kolt Knaack (off frame) late in the first quarter during last Friday’s homecoming win against BCLUW. Dostal recorded a great night against the Comets, running in a touchdown pass and making his second pick 6 in as many weeks in just the first quarter alone. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

TRAER – Amid the backdrop of Homecoming 2023-24, Redhawk football flew past the BCLUW Comets last Friday night to claim their second win of the season — and cement running back Josh Dostal’s status as a player to watch.

Barely two minutes into the game and on the Redhawks very first play of the night, North Tama quarterback Kolt Knaack threw a beautiful pass from the 39 yard line to Dostal – deep in BCLUW territory – for a 61-yard touchdown. Dostal made the reception right on the 15-yard line, shaking off a tackle before running into the endzone.

As if that wasn’t enough of an opening bid by the Redhawks, about 30 seconds later Dostal snatched up his second pick 6 in as many weeks, running for 25 yards and putting the score at 12-0 not even three minutes into the game.

The 2-point conversion by Gavin Rausch was good, allowing the Redhawks to later end the quarter ahead, 14-0.

“Kolt and Josh came out firing,” North Tama head coach Andrew Knaack told the Telegraph on Sunday following the game. “They scored that touchdown on the first play of the game and just ignited the team. … We started the first couple of games [this season] not believing we could score and win games. Since that second half of [the Week 2 Nashua-Plainfield game] we know we can score touchdowns and play good defense. We really believe in each other and what the staff is putting in place to get the W.”

Redhawk quarterback Kolt Knaack (4) looks for a receiver late in the second quarter against BCLUW, while Gavin Rausch (7) provides protection. Against the Comets, Knaack went 13-for-21 for 193 yards and two touchdowns, while also carrying the ball a dozen times for 73 yards and a touchdown. Rausch carried seven times for 17 yards and one touchdown, while also leading the defense with 13.5 tackles (8 solo). PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

North Tama’s second quarter against the Comets last Friday proved just as fruitful as the first. A mere two minutes in, Knaack threw from the 42 yard line a touchdown pass to wide receiver Jared Dvorak near the endzone.

The 2-point conversion by Clayton Williams was good, putting the Redhawks up 22-0.

Around the six-minute mark, Knaack kept the ball and ran in a 42-yard touchdown. He also recorded the 2-point conversion.

With a little more than two minutes left in the first half, the Comets’ defense managed an interception — and a much needed confidence boost for the team — but its rushing-heavy offense was unable to convert.

The Redhawks led BCLUW, 30-0, heading into the second half.


North Tama was shut out in the third during which the Comets scored their only points of the evening — a 26-yard touchdown pass to Cael Keller.

But that was all BCLUW could muster. The Redhawks would go on to score once more in the fourth following an 18-yard run by Rausch with less than two minutes remaining in the game.

Also during the fourth quarter, Redhawk Tyrus Luker recorded a 40-yard interception against BCLUW, helping to ice another great District 3 win for North Tama.

“It is always fun to win the homecoming game,” Coach Knaack said. “It is the game that most of the guys circle every year as one of the games you don’t want to lose. We really used last year’s loss to BCLUW on homecoming as a motivator for the week. We came out red hot and played well to start the game.”

Against BCLUW, Kolt Knaack went 13-for-21 for 193 yards total and two touchdowns. He connected with five of his receivers including Josh Dostal three times for 76 yards and a touchdown, and Jared Dvorak twice for 54 yards and a touchdown.

The North Tama pep band including flutist Ava Monat, center, performs ahead of the Homecoming game last Friday on Dennis Field in Traer. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

Knaack also kept the ball a dozen times for 73 yards and a touchdown. Gavin Rausch carried seven times for 17 yards and one touchdown.

Rausch led the defense with 13.5 tackles (8 solo). Kaidon Cannon notched one sack on the Comets, while Knaack and Clayton Williams recovered one BCLUW fumble apiece.

Dostal had two interceptions for 26 yards and a touchdown.

During halftime, North Tama crowned Lydia Taylor the 2023-24 Homecoming Queen, while Redhawk football player Henry Hansen was crowned Homecoming King during a pep rally held earlier that afternoon.

This Friday, the Redhawks (2-2) are on the road against the powerful Wapsie Valley Warriors (3-1) in their third Class A District 3 matchup of the season.

North Tama’s 2023-24 Homecoming Queen Lydia Taylor, center, smiles last Friday evening while standing under the stadium lights on Dennis Field alongside her parents Laura and Chad Taylor after accepting the crown from last year’s queen, Shae Ewoldt (not pictured). Earlier that same afternoon, Henry Hansen, the son of Jess Hansen and Jamie Kadner, was crowned North Tama’s Homecoming King. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

“We have to keep up the belief that we are a good team and we can score and play good defense when we need to,” Coach Knaack said of this week’s preparations. “We will be tested [against the Warriors] but I think we are ready for it. We keep getting better each week and that can’t change now – we have to be better this week than we were last week.

“The motto for the team [this year is] ‘OUR season is MY responsibility.’ That has to be true this week. We all need to do our job, and we will continue to have success.”

Friday’s kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Wapsie Valley High School’s Jerry Southmayd Field in Fairbank.

Josh Dostal (5) takes off after intercepting a Comets pass. Following the snatch, Dostal managed a pick 6 - his second in as many weeks. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

Redhawk running back Tyrus Luker, center, alongside quarterback Kolt Knaack, left, listens intently to assistant coach and former North Tama quarterback Gabe Kopriva, right, during a time out on the field last Friday night against BCLUW. The Redhawks lost to BCLUW last season during Kopriva’s senior year, but took back the homecoming mantle this year by beating the Comets, 36-6. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER



The North Tama pep band under the direction of Channing Halstead (off frame) performs during Homecoming halftime on Dennis Field last Friday night in Traer. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

Lydia Taylor smiles with surprise and joy as she is crowned the 2023-24 North Tama Homecoming Queen by last year's queen, Shae Ewoldt, alongside her parents Laura and Chad Taylor on Dennis Field last Friday night. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

Kinsley Even (right), one of five candidates for this year's Homecoming Queen, hugs her cousin Lydia Taylor after Taylor was selected as the 2023 Queen. PHOTO BY RUBYF F. MCALLISTER

Lydia Taylor, center, North Tama’s 2023-24 Homecoming Queen pictured alongside her fellow queen candidates including (l-r) Jamie Jacobs, Kinsely Even, Isabel “Izzy” Hallet, and Larissa Morrison during halftime on Dennis Field. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

The past and the present: North Tama's 2022 and 2023 Homecoming Queens - Shae Ewoldt, left, and Lydia Taylor - pictured together on Dennis Field last Friday following coronation. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER