Balanced effort leads to 49-14 victory for football

Keith Cork looking for play from sidelines

RICHMOND, Ind. – Four consecutive first half scoring drives help guide the Hanover football team to a 49-14 victory at Earlham Saturday afternoon.

The Panthers (3-4, 3-2 HCAC) drove down the field on their first possession of the game, but an interception in the end zone brought the series to a sudden halt. Hanover however, stifled the Quakers (0-7, 0-5 HCAC) on each of their eight first half possessions, forcing five punts and one turnover on downs, while also recording two interceptions.

Freshman Shawn Coane (Evansville, Ind.) rushed in from nine yards out for the game's first score with just under two minutes remaining in the opening quarter. Coane finished with over 100 rushing yards for the second straight week, totaling 123 yards on 16 carries. The freshman also secured four passes for 41 yards and one score.

Overall, Hanover held a 286-94 edge in rushing yards. The Panthers rushing total marked the fifth time in the past three seasons they have totaled over 200 yards on the ground.

Senior Chase Lightfoot (Crestwood, Ky.) threw two passing touchdowns during HC's first half scoring spurt, connecting with Coane and sophomore Connor Gibson (Lexington, Ky.) on eight and 26 yard passes respectively. Lightfoot finished with 23 completions on 30 attempts, for 193 yards and the two scores. Gibson totaled 52 yards on six receptions.

Adding to the Panther ground game were freshmen Matt Pica (Delray Beach, Fla.) and Garren Messmore (West Harrison, Ind.). Pica scored on two rushing plays, while gaining 25 yards on four carries. Messmore ran eight times for 54 yards, while adding a third quarter touchdown on an 18-yard scamper.

Overall, Hanover enjoyed a 511-248 edge in total yards, including a 298-69 advantage in the first half. The Panther defense held an opponent under 100 total yards in the opening half for the third time this fall.

Leading the defense was freshman Kyle Treber (Mishawaka, Ind.), who tallied nine total stops. Treber registered one sack, dropping the Quakers back 15 yards, while also adding another 0.5 tackle for loss.

Senior Layne Harnishfeger (Batesville, Ind.) added to his team high sack total with one Saturday afternoon, giving him five on the season. Harnishfeger ended with six total wrap ups.

The Panthers recorded two interceptions for the third time this season, as senior Keith Cork (Indianapolis, Ind.) earned both takeaways in the first half. Cork also pitched in with three tackles.

Hanover scored on three consecutive drives in the second half as well, capturing a 49-7 advantage with 7:12 remaining in the game. Sophomore Alex Fabert (Mooresville, Ind.) tossed his third touchdown of the season, connecting with senior Casey Virgin (Westfield, Ind.) on a six-yard pass in the fourth quarter.

The Blue and Red have now won back-to-back games for the first time in 2017 after earning a 31-28 victory over Bluffton last week. Hanover's win also marks just the second time in the past four seasons the team has a conference winning percentage above .500.

The Panthers will look for their third straight win at 1:30 p.m., next Saturday, Oct. 28, when they travel to face Defiance.

Contact: Tyler Jester