GREENWOOD, Ind. – Freshman Kyle Treber (Mishawaka, Ind.) was named HCAC Rookie of the Year to highlight 10 all-conference selections for the Hanover football team Wednesday afternoon.
The 10 all-HCAC selections marks the second straight year the team earned double-digit accolades, and Treber's award is the first yearly honor for HC since 2008, when Tyler Thiems and Nick Sharp were named Special Teams Most Valuable Player and Freshman of the Year respectively.
Treber was joined by his defensive front-seven teammate, senior Zach Dauer (Cincinnati, Ohio), on the first team. Overall the defense ranked second in the HCAC in total defense, allowing just over 377 yards per game.
The freshman led the HCAC and ranked among the top 25 in NCAA Division III in total tackles per game, 10.9, recording 98 stops in nine appearances. Treber tallied double-digit tackles in four games this fall, including 20 wrap-ups on two occasions.
Dauer, who was a HCAC honorable mention selection last season, tallied 55 tackles in 2017, averaging 6.1 per game. The senior defensive end ranked second in the conference in sacks with 7.5, and his 0.83 per game was also good enough to be inside the top 50 averages in the NCAA.
Five Panthers earned second team honors from the HCAC this fall, including two offensive skill players in sophomore Jackson Daugherty (Greenwood, Ind.) and freshman Shawn Coane (Evansville, Ind.). Daugherty led a talented receiving corps with 700 yards, improving his season total by nearly 500 yards from 2016. The sophomore also ranked third in the HCAC with 5.8 receptions per game, and added five touchdowns on the year.
Coane, who did not appear in Hanover's first two games of the season, averaged 145.3 all-purpose yards per game over the final eight contests. His all-purpose average was good enough for third in the HCAC, as he also led the team in both rushing and receiving touchdowns, with seven and six respectively. The freshman rushed for over 100 yards in four consecutive games prior to the season finale, while also scoring at least once in every game he played in.
Part of Coane's rushing success fell on the shoulders of junior Brandon Merrick (Mount Vernon, Ind.), who anchored an improved offensive line unit this fall. The junior helped lead HC to a 25-yard improvement in rushing yards per game, as the Panthers averaged 129.0 yards on the ground. The team also rushed for over 150 yards on three occasions, with two of the strong performances going over 200 yards. Merrick's second team honor this year is the first conference accolade of his collegiate career.
Joining Dauer on the defensive line throughout the season was senior Layne Harnishfeger (Batesville, Ind.). Harnishfeger's second team selection in 2017 is his second all-HCAC award of his career after he picked up honorable mention accolades last year. Like Dauer, Harnishfeger disrupted opposing offenses in the backfield, tallying 11.5 tackles for loss, including 6.0 sacks.
Sophomores Dakota Manion (West Lafayette, Ind.) and Jonatan Ward (Aventura, Fla.) were both tabbed as second team selections, with each picking up their first all-HCAC award in 2017. Manion was second on the team in total tackles with 62, and recorded a career-high 13 stops in the season finale against Franklin. Ward posted a punting average of 38.3 yards, which was third in the HCAC. He also led the conference in punts downed inside the 20-yard line with 19.
Two Panthers earned honorable mention accolades in senior quarterback Chase Lightfoot (Crestwood, Ky.) and freshman wideout Cory Leppert (Tampa, Fla.). Lightfoot is the first Hanover quarterback to receive postseason accolades from the HCAC since 2013, as he threw for a career high 2,748 yards and 20 touchdowns this fall. Leppert posted the most receptions of any HC freshman receiver over the past five seasons, 39, while his 442 receiving yards were the second highest total during the same span.
Senior Casey Virgin (Westfield, Ind.) was Hanover's all-sportsmanship selection. Virgin posted three receptions for 31 yards and one touchdown this fall.
The Panthers finished 4-6 overall and 4-4 in the HCAC for the second straight year under head coach Matt Theobald. Hanover's season was highlighted by an unbeaten-October, where the team went 3-0 and outscored its opponents by combine total of 117-71.
For a complete list of the 2017 all-HCAC selections, visit the link above.
Contact: Tyler Jester