Late score, defensive stop leads to Homecoming win over Bluffton

Lightfoot running

HANOVER, Ind. – In a back-and-forth affair, the Hanover football team tallied the final score in the closing minutes, outlasting Bluffton during Homecoming Saturday, 31-28.

After leading 17-7 at the intermission, the Panthers found themselves trailing 28-24 with just under nine minutes remaining in the contest.

Hanover used its next offensive possession to drive 75 yards in 3:28, as senior Chase Lightfoot (Crestwood, Ky.) found freshman Cory Leppert (Tampa, Fla.) on a two-yard screen pass, which resulted in a touchdown. The Panthers (2-4, 2-2 HCAC) led 31-28 with just over five minutes to play.

Lightfoot finished the contest 24-for-34 passing, accumulating 316 yards through the air, while also tallying three touchdowns. The senior now has 10 passing touchdowns over the last five games and has added three scores on the ground during the stretch.

Leppert's fourth quarter score was his second of the contest, as he posted five receptions for 37 yards.

On the ensuing Bluffton (2-4, 2-2 HCAC) drive, the Blue and Red forced a three-and-out, in large part to the efforts from junior Zach Dauer (Cincinnati, Ohio). Dauer made one stop and added a QB hurry on the Beavers' possession. Overall, Dauer recorded six tackles, with his first three coming for a loss of 17 yards.

Hanover's next possession came to a halt after an incompletion on a fourth and six play from the BU 21-yard line.

After four straight completions, the Beavers were near midfield with less than 30 seconds remaining, but a sack and a tackle for loss from freshman Kyle Treber (Mishawaka, Ind.), along with an incompletion, secured the 31-28 victory for HC.

The Panthers have now won two of their last three overall and have also earned a home win over Bluffton in five of the last six tries.

Treber, who entered Saturday atop the HCAC standings in tackles per game, posted 20 total stops for the second time this season. The freshman added two tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one pass break up.

Freshman Shawn Coane (Evansville, Ind.) scored in his fourth straight game, as he has accumulated six scores during the stretch. Coane became the first Panther to rush for over 100 yards this season, as he went for 128 yards on 25 carries Saturday. The freshman also led the team with 117 receiving yards on six catches, while tallying two total touchdowns.  

With a team high seven receptions, sophomore Jackson Daugherty (Greenwood, Ind.) has now posted five or more catches in five straight games.

Overall statistics were fairly even between the Panthers and Beavers, but Hanover's 3-1 sack advantage made a difference late.

The entertaining second half saw the two squads combined to score touchdowns on five of six consecutive possessions.

The Panthers will look to win back-to-back games for the first time this season, as well as their first road contest in 2017, when they travel to face Earlham at 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21.

Contact: Tyler Jester