by ANNE KUNKEL
PROCTOR, Minn. - Hermantown Hawks took back the hammer from rival team Proctor Rails with a 30-12 win on Oct. 18 in the final seventh grade football game of the season.
The "Hammer" is a sign of victory between the rival schools. A wooden hammer is passed between the neighboring schools, giving the winner bragging rights.
The tradition has been going on for years, and is honored in both middle and high school.
Proctor Rails won the last game between the two schools. The pressure is on both teams to keep their standing, or to win back the hammer.
The game opened up with tension as the two rival teams stood face to face on the line up. "Both teams are really good," said Dan Leonard, a parent on the sidelines. "This should be a good game."
The Hawks started off the game with the first touchdown made by Nick Bostrom, with a 20-yard run. Proctor fumbled the ball in the first run, placing it back in the hands of the Hawk's, leading to another touchdown by C.J. Slocum.
Proctor Rails made a comeback in the end of the first half with a touchdown made by Dominic Nappoli, with a 20-yard run. However, the Hawks running back Nathan Nelson made one more touchdown before the first half was over, making the score 24-6 Hawks at halftime.
"We have as much talent as any team if not more," said Hermantown Coach Dan Beck, also a former UMD football player. "I'm hopeful that we'll win this game."
The second half opened up with the Rails on offense. Dominic Nappoli ran 58 yards on the 1st down for another Proctor touchdown. However, the field kick was a miss, keeping Proctor from earning the two extra points.
Hermantown Hawks were quick to return the ball, and go for another touchdown with a 40-yard run by Zack Brenden. They were stopped at the 10-yard line by the Rails. Holding strong, the Rails were not able to hold the Hawks on the line for long. The Hawks managed to run the ball on the second down for another touchdown, making the score 30-12 Hawks.
Both teams defended well against another touchdown in the last quarter of the game. While each offense tried to score, the defense stopped them every time, making the end score 30-12 Hawks.
"The team didn't play to their potential, but we're still proud," said Andrew Michalski, Proctor coach.
With the game over, the rivalry between the teams really showed. Handshakes were exchanged along with glaring looks, as the Hammer was handed over to the Hawks. Overall, both showed good sportsmanship, and jokingly chided each other about the next time they would meet on the field.