Janesville66°

Hammon's versatility pays off for Milton football team

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THOMAS J. MILLER
October 23, 2010
— Planning defensive schemes against Milton High School is like deciding whether to run across the interstate blindfolded or swim across the piranha-infested pond.

If you’re unlucky, you get hit by a semi and fly into the pond.


Defensive coaches get hit at all angles by Red Hawk senior quarterback Nate Hammon.


The 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior can run through defenses.


Ask Mount Horeb/Barneveld, which watched Hammon rush 21 times for 200 yards.


Or Monroe, which gave up 176 yards rushing in 19 carries to the talented senior.


“He’s your do-it-all quarterback,” Monroe coach Curt Miller said. “He’s so good at making something from nothing.”


Hammon also can throw.


In the season opener against Sauk Prairie, Hammon completed 25 of 31 passes for 305 yards and three scores in a 50-32 victory.


In the second game of the season, against still undefeated Waunakee, Hammon went 17-of-23 for 272 yards.


And if you’re really unlucky, Hammon hits you with both his legs and arm.


Two weeks ago against Madison Edgewood, he rushed 19 times for 155 yards and four touchdowns, and completed 20 of 29 passes for 200 yards and another touch down.


Stoughton also was hit in all directions. Hammon ran for two touchdowns and threw for three more in a 41-15 victory.


Running or throwing, Hammon has had opposing defenses spinning as the Red Hawks have built a 6-3 record in earning a WIAA Division 2 playoff berth.


The Red Hawks open the playoffs with a home game Tuesday night against Westosha Central, and the Falcons better be prepared for the run and the pass.


Operating out of the shotgun formation, Hammon has completed 127 of 194 passes (65.5 percent) for 1,587 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has run 96 times for 722 yards (7.5 ypc) and 14 more touchdowns.


Those numbers would be even higher, but Hammon has missed the past 1½ games due to a concussion. He is expected to be cleared to play Tuesday night.


Coach Jeff Bachinski and his staff modified the Milton offense to accommodate Hammon’s abilities this season. In addition to going to the shotgun instead of lining up Hammon right under center as he did the last season, the Milton offensive line retreats five yards and then engage its blocks to give Hammon more time to survey the field.


“He has the opportunity on every play to run or pass,” Bachinski said. “When he gets the ball, he’s always a double threat.”


And he also has kicked two extra points, rushed for a pair of two-point conversions and thrown for another two-point conversion. He has scored 90 points.


In addition, Hammon has punted 20 times for a 36.5-yard average, including one for 56 yards.


When Hammon throws the ball, Riley Kovars, Phillip McCarthy and Sam McCann have been his favorite targets.


Kovars has caught 46 receptions with 861 yards and eight touchdowns, including an 85-yarder. McCarthy has 42 catches for 477 yards and five scores, and McCann has 30 receptions for 388 yards and three touchdowns.


“I like to pass more than to run,” Hammon says. “But when I’m off, I usually just run.”


Hammon runs the 100 and is on the 400 and 800 relay teams on the Red Hawks’ track and team. That speed, along with a determination not to be brought down, has helped Hammon average 90 yards rushing a game.


“He has more moves than Carter has pills,” Bachinski said.


With Collin Sayre adding 417 yards rushing, the Red Hawks have averaged more than 31 points a game. And that total came without having Hammon and Kovars—who averages 147 total yards—for the past two games because of concussions.


Hammon’s brother, Nick, a 2007 Milton High graduate, earned all-state honors as a defensive lineman.


The second Hammon should be on the list this season.



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