HANOVER, Ind. – After a bye week last Saturday, the Hanover football team returns to action this weekend, as they welcome Bluffton (Ohio) on campus' annual Homecoming Day.
Hanover and Bluffton are slated to kick off at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14. The Blue and Red are currently 1-1 at home in 2017, with the victory coming against Anderson, 64-21.
The Panthers were last in action at Mount St. Joseph (Ohio) on Sept. 30 and despite scoring two fourth quarter touchdowns, they ultimately fell 35-20.
Freshman Cory Leppert (Tampa, Fla.) had his second 100-yard receiving performance in the three games, hauling in eight passes for 102 yards versus MSJ. The freshman currently leads the team in receiving yards with 344.
Throwing the passes to Leppert is senior Chase Lightfoot (Crestview, Ky.), who has completed over 58 percent of his attempts in each of the last four games. Lightfoot has also tossed seven touchdowns during the span, while adding three scores on the ground. The senior is third in the HCAC in passing yards per contest at 270.0.
Defensively, freshman Kyle Treber (Mishawaka, Ind.) leads the conference in tackles per game, 11.4, as his mark is also good enough to be among the top 20 in NCAA Division III.
Sophomore Dakota Manion (West Lafayette, Ind.) tallied a career high 11 tackles in the contest at MSJ, giving him 27 total stops this fall.
Behind the efforts of Treber and Manion at the linebacker position, Hanover has the top defense in terms of yards allowed in the HCAC, 344.8. The Panthers are also tied for the lead in the HCAC and rank 16th nationally in defensive touchdowns with two.
Sophomore punter Jonatan Ward (Aventura, Fla.) has helped flip the game in terms of field position all season long, dropping nearly half of his punts inside the opponent's own 20-yard line. Ward has a long of 54 yards this season and has just one touchback in 32 tries.
The Panthers' opponent this week, Bluffton, enters with a 2-3 overall mark and 2-1 record in conference play. Bluffton is coming off a 56-14 home win over Anderson last Saturday.
Highlighting the Beavers' offensive play this year is wide receiver Micah Roberson. The senior recently surpassed 3,000 career receiving yards, becoming the first player in Bluffton's program history to accomplish the feat.
Junior Isaac ZIckafoose was recently named HCAC Defensive Player of the Week for BU, as he recorded six solo stops, a forced fumble, three sacks and four tackles for loss in the win over Anderson. Nine of Zickafoose's 25 tackles this season have been for a loss.
The Panthers will look to snap a three-game losing skid against the Beavers Saturday. History may be on the side of Hanover, as the Blue and Red have won four of the last five meetings with BU at Alumni Stadium, winning those contests by an average margin of 28 points.
Contact: Tyler Jester