Panthers fall in Victory Bell showdown on Senior Day

Kegan Aldridge back pedals on defense

HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover football team concluded the 2017 season Saturday afternoon, falling to Franklin in the 61st-annual Victory Bell, 56-14.

In the 87th meeting all-time between the Panthers (4-6, 4-4 HCAC) and Grizzlies (8-2, 8-0 HCAC), it was Franklin that jumped out to an early advantage, scoring three times in the first 10 minutes of play. The all-time series between the two rivals is now tied 42-42-3.

Hanover found the end zone for the first time at the 2:02 mark of the first quarter, cutting the gap to 21-7. Freshman Shawn Coane (Evansville, Ind.) rushed in from two yards out, giving him at least one total touchdown in the final eight games of the season. Coane finished with 50 rushing yards on 11 carries.

On a day where Hanover was honoring its seniors, a pair of Panthers playing their final collegiate game connected on a 44-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Chase Lightfoot (Crestwood, Ky.) tossed the 44-yard heave to classmate Davis Culbertson (Pewee Valley, Ky.), who logged his first receiving touchdown of the year.

Lightfoot finished 27-of-41 passing, for 269 yards, and the one score. Leading the way receiving corps was sophomore Jackson Daugherty (Greenwood, Ind.). Daugherty tallied six receptions for 78 yards, while classmate Connor Gibson (Lexington, Ky.) added five catches for 50 yards.

Defensively, sophomore Dakota Manion (West Lafayette, Ind.) led the team with 13 tackles. The sophomore made eight solo stops, while also adding 0.5 sack.

Seniors Kegan Aldridge (Jasper, Ind.) and Antoine Baldon (Louisville, Ky.) combined for 12 wrap ups in their final game at HC. Aldridge made seven total tackles, while Baldon was on five stops.

The two teams combined for over 900 yards for the second straight season, as the Grizzlies enjoyed a 618-368 advantage in total offense Saturday. Franklin was also opportunistic on defense, recording three takeaways.

Hanover's defense was able to find some success in the red zone, earning five stops when backed up inside their own 20-yard line. The Panther's offense however, was only able to score once on five trips to the red zone.

The Blue and Red finish the season 4-6 overall and 4-4 in conference play for the second straight season. The team was able to win three consecutive games prior to back-to-back losses to finish the year, matching its longest winning streak under head coach Matt Theobald. Hanover also averaged over 31 points per game, a six-point improvement from Theobald's first campaign with the Blue and Red.

Contact: Tyler Jester