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Giltner Hornet football returns with strong players
Last season, the Giltner Hornets had two players that kept the attention of many college coaches. Drew Ott eventually signed with Coach Kirk Ferentz of the Iowa Hawkeyes and Logan Rath with South Dakota State.
News 5's Will Sherratt reports that Hornet coach Jeff Ashby feels this years' team will also command that same kind of interest.
Since Jeff Ashby took over the Giltner high school football program in 2007, the Hornets have been nothing but successful making the D-2 playoffs five years in a row. And although two players from last year's squad moved on to the collegiate ranks, he remains confident about the experience he has returning starting with one of his most versatile players.
"Kyle Hawthorne, who is just dynamic. We're working on the Kyle factor, moving him around and getting him the football. So he's kind of our Randy Moss," said Ashby.
Also returning is senior quarterback Jake Findley. In 2011, Findley threw for over 2300 yards and 42 touchdowns, but attributes all of his success to his teammates.
"Well, it's all with the offensive line. I wouldn't be able to get any of it without them giving me some time and, of course, my receivers catching the ball for me. I throw and it's not always a good ball and they always have to make some good catches and they always go, like, 50 yards after they catch the ball so it's a lot of everybody else, not me," Findley said.
And that supporting cast he speaks of received a massive addition this summer when 6'3", 290 pound Dillon Gartner transferred from Gothenburg. Already acclimating well to the system, Coach Ashby believes Gartner has a bright future ahead.
"Dillon is pretty well decided that he will attend Iowa Western next year and go the juco route and then into division one. I'm sure he'll land in a division one college," said Ashby.
"I plan on going to Iowa Western in Council Bluffs for two years and then hopefully transfer to a division one college after that. Hopefully, K-State, Nebraska, Oklahoma State or Tulsa," Gartner said.
But for both Findley and Gartner, playing together brings on extra meaning, as they try and carry on their fathers' legacy at Giltner.
"Our dads played together here at Giltner so it kind of means a lot. They won state in '84 so I think it’s our turn to win state in 2012," said Gartner.
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