Panthers to close out September slate with trip to Anderson

Jackson Daugherty

HANOVER, Ind. – Fresh off its first win of the season, the Hanover football team will look to stay unbeaten in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play with a trip to Anderson this weekend.

The Panthers (1-2, 1-0 HCAC) and Ravens are slated for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff this Saturday, Sept. 29, at Macholtz Stadium. Hanover is coming off a 28-10 victory at Bluffton (Ohio) last Saturday.

SERIES HISTORY: Hanover and Anderson will be meeting for the 70th time, as the Blue and Red hold a 46-23 edge in the all-time series. The Panthers have won three straight outings against AU, scoring an average of 47.0 points per contest, including an average scoring margin of 24.7 points over the three-game stretch. On the road, HC is 3-1 since 2010, topping 30 points in each of the last three meetings at Macholtz Stadium. Under head coach Matt Theobald, Hanover has won both games against Anderson, with a 33.5-point average scoring margin.

DEJA VÚ?: The Panthers' win at Bluffton marked the program's first HCAC-opening victory since 2012. In 2012, HC finished the year 6-4 overall and 6-2 in conference play, both of which, if matched, would be program bests under Theobald. The 2012 campaign also saw the Blue and Red place in a tie for second in the final HCAC standings.

QUICK STARTS: Spectators will want to be seated before the opening kickoff as Hanover has had a knack for scoring early this fall. The Panthers have been the first team to score in two of three outings and against Thomas More, after conceding a touchdown, HC answered with their own on their second offensive play from scrimmage. Last week was a prime example of Hanover's quick starts, as the team led 21-0 less than 20 minutes in against Bluffton.

DOMINATING DEFENSE: The Panthers have been one of the top defenses in the HCAC this season, which includes a conference-best 21.7 scoring average. Hanover is coming off its best performance, in terms of points allowed, this season and are allowing five fewer points per outing than the next closest team in the conference. The Blue and Red are also second in the HCAC in total defense, allowing just over 300 yards per contest. Hanover is coming off a game at Bluffton where they conceded less than 200 yards of offense, the third such instance under Theobald.

TACKLING TRIO: A trio of Panther defenders are among the conference and national leaders for tackles per game this season, led by senior Brody Dell (Tipton, Ind.) and sophomore Kyle Treber (Mishawaka, Ind.), who are each at 9.0 per outing. Junior Dakota Manion (West Lafayette, Ind.) is at 8.7 stops per game to rank third on the team. Treber paced the Panthers last time out with six, while eight other players had at least four total tackles at Bluffton.

ASKEW THRUSTED INTO ACTION: Freshman Kiefer Askew (Warner Robins, Ga.) was given the bulk of the action at one of the cornerback spots last week, where he made a career high five tackles. Askew was in coverage throughout the game and added a pass breakup as well. The freshman saw extended time in the season opener at Centre also, where he made one tackle.

WEZENSKY AIRING IT OUT: Sophomore quarterback Noah Wezensky (Fort Wayne, Ind.) has been key in the Panthers' offensive attack, as he is currently ranked among the top three in the HCAC in completions per game, 23.3, and passing touchdowns, eight, which rank 21st and 30th, respectively, in NCAA Division III. Wezensky is also third in the conference in completion percentage, .614, and passing yards per game, 255.3. Last time out, the gunslinger posted 30-of-44 completions for a career-high 294 yards and three scores.

DAUGHERTY DOING HIS THING: Junior wideout Jackson Daugherty (Greenwood, Ind.) has built a nice rapport with Wezensky, as he is currently fourth in the HCAC and 63rd nationally with 91.0 receiving yards per game. Dating back to last season, Daugherty has scored in five of his last six appearances, including each of the first three games this fall. To go with his score at Bluffton, the junior added seven catches for a career-high 116 yards.

RUN COANE RUN: For the third time this season, sophomore running back Shawn Coane (Evansville, Ind.) went over 100 all-purpose yards, going for 78 rushing and 29 receiving yards at Bluffton. Coane is fifth in the HCAC this season with 113.3 all-purpose yards per game. The sophomore leads the team with 73.7 rushing yards per contest and is tied with Daugherty for the team lead in receptions, 16.

SCOUTING THE RAVENS: Anderson will enter Saturday's contest with a 1-3 overall record, which includes a 1-1 mark in league play. Despite the slow start, the Ravens are coming off the first victory of the Steve Rock era, an 18-14 win at Defiance last Saturday. Anderson was picked to finish eighth in the league this fall, while Hanover was predicted by the HCAC's head coaches to finish fourth.

On the season, AU is averaging 16.0 points per game, while giving up nearly 40 points per contest. Similarly, the Ravens have been on the wrong side of the total offense averages, 473.5 to 240.0. One bright spot for AU on defense has been Koty Frauhiger, who is second in the conference and among the leaders nationally with 12.0 tackles per game. Frauhiger also has three tackles for loss, two pass breakups and one forced fumble.

UP NEXT: Conference play continues for Hanover as they welcome Earlham for the College's 91st annual Homecoming celebration. Homecoming festivities kick off on campus Friday night and the football contest is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6.

Contact: Tyler Jester