DEFIANCE, Ohio – Behind four consecutive touchdown drives in the second quarter and over 200 total yards from freshman running back Shawn Coane (Evansville, Ind.), the Hanover football team matched its longest winning streak under head coach Matt Theobald in a 37-29 victory at Defiance Saturday afternoon.
Trailing 14-3 after Defiance's first drive of the second quarter, the Panthers (4-4, 4-2 HCAC) rattled off four unanswered scores to take control of the game. Hanover's four touchdown drives gave them a 30-14 lead at the intermission.
Coane played a big part in HC's second quarter explosion, as he scored twice, both on plays over 25 yards. The freshman recorded the Blue and Red's first touchdown of the game on a 29-yard run and later added a 31-yard scoring scamper in the quarter.
Overall, Coane finished with a career high 182 rushing yards, on 34 carries, while adding the two scores. The freshman also made five receptions for 71 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter, giving him 253 yards of total offense.
During the second quarter, Hanover outgained the Yellow Jackets 245-72, while forcing a DC three-and-out on their final four first half possessions.
After a scoreless third quarter, Defiance (2-6, 2-4 HCAC) cut the Panther lead to eight points, 30-22, with just under 14 minutes remaining. The Blue and Red responded however, with a touchdown on the next drive, as senior quarterback Chase Lightfoot (Crestwood, Ky.) completed all three of his pass attempts during the series, for 58 yards, including the 42-yard connection with Coane.
Lightfoot finished the contest with 238 passing yards, as he completed 19-of-28 attempts. With two passing scores, the senior now has multiple throwing touchdowns in six straight games.
Defiance was able to pull within eight points again at 37-29 after recovering a fumble for a touchdown at the 7:48 mark of the fourth quarter.
The Yellow Jackets had two chances to tie the contest, but their first drive ended with an incompletion on fourth and goal and the final attempt coming to an end with a one yard completion on a fourth and five play near midfield. Freshman Markel Yeast (Danville, Ky.) broke up the pass on fourth and goal and senior Layne Harnishfeger (Batesville, Ind.) made the stop on DC's final offensive play.
Yeast and Harnishfeger were two of six Panthers to tie for the team high in tackles Saturday, with six each. Harnishfeger and classmate Zach Dauer (Cincinnati, Ohio) both posted three tackles for loss to lead the team. Overall, HC recorded five sacks, pushing the Yellow Jacket offense back 41 yards.
Sophomore Jackson Daugherty (Greenwood, Ky.) caught a 28-yard touchdown in the second quarter, as he finished with four receptions for a team high 92 yards.
Hanover's lone points in the first quarter came from the leg of freshman Austin Steurer (Warsaw, Ky.). Steurer, who missed his first two collegiate field goal attempts, has now made four straight, including a career long 27-yard kick Saturday.
Behind the strong running performance from Coane, the Panthers totaled over 200 yards on the ground for the third time this season and for the second straight week. The Blue and Red finished with a 439-387 advantage in total offense Saturday.
The victory over Defiance gives HC its third consecutive victory, tying 2016's longest winning streak, which also included a one-score triumph over Defiance.
Hanover will look for its first five-win season since 2013 when they welcome Manchester for Hall of Fame Day, Saturday, Nov. 4. The Panthers and Spartans are slated for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.
Contact: Tyler Jester