Defense dominates in football's 48-7 win over Defiance

Chase Cope

HANOVER, Ind. – The defense was dominate as the Hanover College football team rolled to a 48-7 home win over Defiance Saturday afternoon to stay unbeaten in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play.

The Panther defense did not allow a single point and just over 200 yards of total offense en route to the victory, moving HC to 4-2 overall and 4-0 in HCAC action. Hanover also held DC to just 30 net rushing yards on 37 carries. The Yellow Jackets' (0-6, 0-4 HCAC) lone touchdown came on a recovered fumble in the end zone.

Leading the defensive effort was junior Dakota Manion (West Lafayette, Ind.), who paced the Panthers with 11 total tackles. Manion also had 1.5 tackles for loss, and an interception.

A trio of Hanover players tallied eight tackles in the contest, including junior Chase Cope (Mooresville, Ind.). On top of his eight total stops, Cope recorded five tackles for loss, including three sacks. Sophomores Zikk Omoruyi (Palm Beach, Fla.) and Kyle Treber (Mishawaka, Ind.) added eight tackles as well.

To go along with Manion's interception, sophomore Terrell Anderson Jr. (Indianapolis, Ind.) and junior Noah Fuchs (Evansville, Ind.) added picks as well. Anderson and Fuchs combined for five tackles on the day. The Panthers also tallied 12 tackles for loss, including seven team sacks.

Overall, Hanover held a 451-218 advantage in total offensive yards, which featured a balanced attack for the Blue and Red. Junior AJ Breit (Louisville, Ky.) received his second career start, as he went 27-of-35 for 256 yards and four touchdowns. Sophomore Shawn Coane (Evansville, Ind.) led the Panther rushing attack, going for 148 and a score on 16 carries. Coane also added five receptions for 44 yards and one touchdown.

The receiving game was highlighted by sophomore Jared Frank (Louisville, Ky.), who had his second multi-score game of the season. Frank finished with a team-high six catches and 78 yards, as well as two touchdowns. Junior Conner Gibson (Lexington, Ky.) found the end zone as well, recording four receptions for 44 yards. Gibson has all five of his season scores in the past four outings.

After the defense forced a three-and-out, junior Jackson Daugherty (Greenwood, Ind.) gave the Panthers great starting field position with a 33-yard return to the DC 22-yard line. Hanover scored two plays later, as Breit connected with Coane on a screen pass from 15 yards out.

Just before the end of the first quarter, HC scored again, with Breit and Frank teaming up for the first time, a 24-yard play with 1:53 remaining in the period. After the Yellow Jacket defense scored on the first play of the second quarter and the Breit-Frank duo connected again on the next possession, HC led 21-7.

On HC's final full offensive possession of the half, Coane capped a brief three-play, 86-yard drive with a 75-yard rushing touchdown. The sophomore finished the contest with an average of 9.3 yards per carry. Hanover led 27-7 at the break.

The lone score of the third quarter was Breit's fourth passing touchdown at the 7:40 mark. The junior gunslinger faked a screen out wide before completing a 15-yard pass to Gibson in the back-left corner of the end zone, putting HC in front 34-7.

In the fourth quarter, Hanover received short yardage rushing touchdowns from junior Carson Plessinger (Alexandria, Ky.) and sophomore Walt Ballinger (Beech Grove, Ind.) with less than four minutes to play. Both players picked up their first career rushing scores.

Hanover, who is now in a two-way tie for first in the HCAC standings, will look to remain unbeaten in conference play with a 1:30 p.m. game at Manchester next Saturday, Oct. 20.

Contact: Tyler Jester