HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover football team celebrated the College's 91st annual Homecoming celebration with an 83-17 victory over the visiting Earlham Quakers Saturday afternoon.
With the win, Hanover has now won three straight to start Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action. The Blue and Red are also 3-2 overall, marking the first time under third year head coach Matt Theobald that the program has had a winning record through the first five outings. The Panthers have also won six straight games in the month of October.
The 83-point outburst on the scoreboard flirted with the school record of 87, which was set against St. Mary's in 1925. Saturday also marked just the fourth time the Panthers have scored 50 or more points under Theobald.
Overall, HC held a 704-291 advantage in total offensive yards, while adding a 34:34-25:26 edge in time of possession. The Panthers also finished with 378 rushing yards, as the total yardage, along with the rushing amount are program-highs under Theobald.
Leading the ground game was sophomore Shawn Coane (Evansville, Ind.), who tallied 133 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, good enough for a 10.2 yard-per-rush average. Coane also grabbed three catches for 39 yards, giving him over 170 all-purpose yards in the contest. The second Panther to hit the century mark on the ground was sophomore Walt Ballinger (Beech Grove, Ind.). Ballinger had just six carries but gashed the Quakers (0-6, 0-4 HCAC) for 103 yards. For the season, Ballinger has 10 carries for 159 yards, a 15.9 average per attempt.
A trio of quarterbacks led the Blue and Red to a 326-yard day through the air. Junior AJ Breit (Louisville, Ky.) received his first career start, going 13-for-15 for 238 yards and a pair of long touchdowns. Classmate Alex Fabert (Mooresville, Ind.) also saw action early on, as he finished 5-of-8 for 73 yards and two scores. Fabert tallied 46 rushing yards on two carries as well. Rounding out the air attack was freshman Matthew Weimer (Georgetown, Ind.), who completed his lone pass in the fourth quarter for a 15-yard touchdown to senior Ryan Mitchell (Dupont, Ind.), which marked the first career score for both players.
Junior Jackson Daugherty (Greenwood, Ind.) paced the Panther receivers in catches, six, accumulating 104 yards and one score. Classmate Conner Gibson (Lexington, Ky.) caught just two passes, but both receptions resulted in touchdowns and a total of 114 yards.
Hanover's defense saw 26 different players record a tackle in the game, as the Blue and Red shutout the Quakers over the final 30 minutes of play and conceded less than 20 yards of second half offense.
Sophomore Kyle Treber (Mishawaka, Ind.) had seven total tackles in the contest, while junior Dakota Manion (West Lafayette, Ind.) added five stops. Both players also recorded a pass break up in coverage. Freshman Tyree Upchurch (Indianapolis, Ind.) put pressure on the EC backfield all afternoon, finishing with four tackles, one for loss and 0.5 sack.
For the fourth time in five games this fall, Hanover was the first to light up the scoreboard. After taking its opening offensive drive down the field and inside the EC five-yard line, the Panthers fumbled away possession. Luckily for the them though, the next play resulted in two points and a safety as Manion forced a fumble that went out the back of the end zone. Breit and Gibson then connected on a 44-yard score two plays later, giving HC a 9-0 lead less than five minutes in.
The Panthers led 22-3 after the opening quarter and thanks to five second quarter touchdowns, took a 57-17 advantage into halftime. Highlighting the scoring for HC in the second quarter was a 47-yard interception return by senior Brody Dell (Tipton, Ind.) and a 70-yard completion from Breit to Gibson.
Hanover added to its scoring on the opening kickoff of the second half, as sophomore Zoobie Brown (Indianapolis, Ind.) went 85 yards to put the Blue and Red in front 64-17. A field goal from sophomore Austin Steurer (Warsaw, Ky.) and a 23-yard touchdown reception from Fabret to Jake Namisnak (Indianapolis, Ind.) gave HC a 17-0 edge in the third period. Namisnak also added a rushing touchdown in the first half.
Weimer's toss to Mitchell was the lone touchdown of the fourth quarter and a bad snap late led to Hanover's second safety of the contest.
The Panthers will look to stay unbeaten in conference play when they welcome Defiance for a 1:30 p.m. start next Saturday, Oct. 13.
Contact: Tyler Jester