TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Entering Saturday, the Hanover football team had no active players with a 100-yard receiving game, but they had three players accomplish the feat in a 38-28 road loss at Rose-Hulman.
Sophomore Taylor Bleistein (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) led the way for the Hanover (0-3, 0-1 HCAC) receivers, recording seven catches for 173 yards. Bleistein had five of his seven receptions go for over 20 yards, including a 42-yard catch in the second quarter, which helped lead to a Panther touchdown.
Other 100-plus yard performances came from sophomore Jackson Daugherty (Greenwood, Ind.) and freshman Cory Leppert (Tampa, Fla.). Daugherty followed up a career high 85-yard performance last week, with nine catches for 114 yards. Leppert was on the receiving end of the first two HC passing touchdowns, while totaling 11 receptions for 111 yards.
Senior Chase Lightfoot (Crestwood, Ky.) was the main gunslinger in the contest, completing 36-of-62 attempts for a season high 446 yards. Lightfoot has now tossed for over 400 yards three times in his career, with Saturday marking the first time since a 505-yard performance against Franklin in 2015. The senior also threw for two touchdowns against Rose-Hulman (2-1, 1-0 HCAC).
Both offenses found success through the air, combining for 802 passing yards and seven touchdowns. The Engineers were also able to generate a running game, going for 178 yards, while HC was held to eight yards on 25 carries.
For the third time in as many games, freshman Kyle Treber (Mishawaka, Ind.) led the Panther defense in tackles, making nine total, including five solo stops. Treber also picked off a pass near the end of the first half giving Hanover a chance to score before the intermission.
Rose-Hulman opened the scoring with a 36-yard field goal close to 10 minutes into the first quarter, taking a 3-0 lead. Hanover responded with an eight-play, 69 yard drive, covering 4:10, as freshman Garren Messmore (West Harrison, Ind.) found pay dirt on a three-yard rush.
Sophomore punter Jonatan Ward (Aventura, Fla.) played a key role in the field position battle in the first half, placing his first three punts inside the RHIT 20-yard line, with two being downed inside the three-yard line. One of the punts resulted in a safety for the Engineer offense, giving HC a 9-3 edge in the first minute of the second quarter.
Lightfoot and Leppert connected for the first time with 18 seconds remaining in the half, giving Hanover a 15-10 lead. Treber intercepted a pass on the ensuing RHIT drive, returning it to the two-yard line with three seconds left before the intermission. The Panthers were unable to find the end zone on the next play, taking the 15-10 lead into halftime.
Leppert and Lightfoot found each other for a score again in the third quarter, but Rose-Hulman scored four second half touchdowns to help push their lead to 38-22 with just 2:37 remaining.
Hanover will return home next weekend after a brief, two-game road stint, as the team will welcome Anderson for Samaritan's Feet Awareness Day. The Panthers and Ravens are slated for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff Saturday, Sept. 23.
Contact: Tyler Jester