ANDERSON, Ind. – The Hanover football team continued its stellar start to Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play, defeating Anderson on the road Saturday afternoon, 55-8.
The Panthers (2-2, 2-0 HCAC) have an unblemished record through the first two conference games for the first time since 2012. Hanover went on to start HCAC play that year 6-0.
Just as they did last week at Bluffton, Hanover got off to a fast start, leading the Ravens (1-4, 1-2 HCAC) 14-0 after the opening period of play. The Panthers received two first quarter touchdown passes from sophomore Noah Wezensky (Fort Wayne, Ind.), who finished the contest with five scores. Juniors Jackson Daugherty (Greenwood, Ind.) and Taylor Bleistein (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) were on the receiving end of the first two touchdowns.
To go along with his five touchdowns, Wezensky completed 24-of-35 passes for 229 yards. Daugherty paced the Panthers with 90 receiving yards on five catches, and his score gave him his fourth straight game with a touchdown this season. Bleistein finished with four receptions for 65 yards and a career-best three touchdowns.
Anderson was able to capitalize on a solid defensive rush early in the second quarter, as Hanover fumbled possession on an attempted screen play out of the back of the end zone for a safety. The Blue and Red though, outscored AU 20-6 over the final 13 minutes of the half, taking a 34-8 lead into the intermission.
Scoring twice during the half-ending spurt was sophomore Shawn Coane (Evansville, Ind.). Coane ripped off touchdown runs of 19 and four yards to help put HC in front by 26 points at the break. The sophomore would finish the contest with 24 carries for 144 yards and the two scores. Coane was busy all afternoon, adding four catches for 16 yards and even completed a pass in the second half for 37 yards.
The final 30 minutes of play saw HC tack on three more scores, two in the third and one in the fourth, which led to the 55-8 final tally. Wezensky threw his final two touchdown tosses in the third quarter, connecting with Bleistein and sophomore Jared Frank (Louisville, Ky.). Frank finished with four catches for 50 yards and now has three receiving touchdowns through four outings this fall.
The lone score of the fourth quarter came from junior quarterback AJ Breit (Louisville, Ky.). Breit's first touchdown toss as a Panther came on a nine-yard completion to sophomore Peyton Head (Evansville, Ind.). Head's reception was his only of the contest and marked his first collegiate touchdown as well.
Defensively, Hanover held its second straight opponent to 10 or fewer points and 200 or less total offensive yards. The Panthers held a 506-200 yard advantage in total offense, including a 221-99 edge on the ground. The Blue and Red also enjoyed a 35:38-24:22 tilt in time of possession.
Sophomore Kyle Treber (Mishawaka, Ind.) and junior Matt Rier (Wellington, Fla.) tied for the team high in tackles with five apiece. All five of Treber's stops were of the solo variety, as has also logged two tackles for loss. Rier pitched in with one tackle for loss as well.
As a unit, the Panther defense tallied 15 tackles for loss, dropping the Ravens back 51 yards. Hanover also had seven sacks for 34 yards. Leading the defensive meeting in the backfield was senior Zach Dauer (Cincinnati, Ohio), who logged 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
After a September schedule that saw the team on the road three out of four games, the Panthers will return home next Saturday, Oct. 6, to open a stretch that features four of five outings at Alumni Stadium and C. Wayne Perry Field. Hanover will welcome Earlham for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff next Saturday, as the College also celebrates its 91st annual Homecoming.
Contact: Tyler Jester