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Xavier's 'old-school' approach propels Hawks to 3-1 start

Since their week one loss, Xavier has outscored opponents 120-37 on an impressive three-game winning streak.
Posted at 10:27 PM, Sep 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-12 23:27:29-04

APPLETON, Wis. (NBC 26) — After a season-opening loss at Luxemburg-Casco, Xavier's long-time head coach Dave Hinkens said he took a look in the mirror.

"I learned that I need to do a better job of leading this program," Hinkens said. "I don't think we had our team prepared in the right way for that game."

"We just worked on a lot of the little things that we messed up on," Hawks lineman Adam Earle said. "It was nice of coach to take some of the blame but it's on us as players, too."

Since then the Hawks have rattled off three-straight wins, outscoring a tough gauntlet of North Eastern Conference foes by a total score of 120-37.

Along the way, they've been pounding teams on the ground: 86 percent of their plays have been runs.

"This team is going back to my earlier days," Hinkens said. "This is kind of an old-school football team here. We have an old-school mentality with new-school techniques."

"A lot of run-heavy but we are able to pass with our threats that we have," Reid Hietpas, Xavier's quarterback and middle linebacker, added. "We have a lot of good overall players. And with our offensive line being as good as they are we'll hopefully be able to throw more and keep being dominant up front."

The offensive line is the key. That group is mostly underclassmen, but they play like seasoned vets.

"They're a physical group. They're tenacious. They just work," Hinkens said. "Our kids up front just work and they're tough."

"It's grown man football is what coach always says," Earle said. "We just have to be really physical. We just have to be bigger and meaner than the other team.

"I like to keep our o-line in check and make sure that we're being dawgs out there," Earle added.

All the pieces are there, and as they head into Bay Conference play the Hawks are already thinking big.

Hietpas said he believes the team could be poised for a "run in the playoffs." Earle added that it's a "tight-knit group."

Last season the Hawks advanced to the second round of the WIAA Playoffs. They last made it to the third round in 2015.