CEDAR FALLS — Seniors Tate Hagen and Josef Smith combined for 345 of West Hancock’s 420 total yards as the Eagles won their third state championship in program history, holding off Grundy Center for a 21-17 win in the Class A championship game at the UNI-Dome Thursday afternoon, as you heard on AM-1300 KGLO and kgloam.com.
Hagen had 231 yards in 36 carries, scoring all three of West Hancock’s touchdowns, while Smith had 18 carries for 119 yards and also threw a pass to Tanner Hagen for a two-point conversion.
The championship completed an emotional journey for an Eagles team that fell in last year’s semifinal round and accomplished a goal they set right after that loss. West Hancock coach Mark Sanger.
Sanger says the seniors Hagen and Smith will certainly be missed.
For Mark’s dad Bob Sanger, it brings to a close a 53rd season which has seen north-central Iowa rally around him. Bob Sanger was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia in the spring of 2018, forcing him to step away from coaching on the sideline halfway through last season. Bob Sanger watched Thursday’s game from a suite overlooking one end zone, with the West Hancock fans cheering every time he was shown on the UNI-Dome’s video board. A huge fundraiser was also held late last month to establish the Bob and Linda Sanger Legacy Fund to help fund causes and projects that the Sanger family is passionate about. Mark Sanger says his family knows they are part of a great community.
West Hancock finishes a perfect 13-0 season. Their three titles each came 23 years apart from each other, win the 1973 Britt team winning the Class 2A title, and the 1996 West Hancock team winning the Class 1A championship. Grundy Center ends their season with a record of 11-2.
If you missed our broadcast of the game or want to listen back to it, click on the audio player below