HANOVER, Ind. – Behind a stellar performance from sophomore running back Shawn Coane (Evansville, Ind.) and strong second half effort, the Hanover football team rolled to a 48-14 victory at Manchester last Saturday, Oct. 20.
The Panthers' win improves them to 5-2 overall and 5-0 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play, as they still sit in a two-way tie for first with Franklin. Hanover is also one win away from matching its best start in the HCAC this decade, 6-0, which was set in 2012.
Coane led a Panther attack that outgained the Spartans (3-5, 3-3 HCAC) in total offensive yards, 577-163. The sophomore tailback spearheaded a rushing performance with 254 yards, as the team finished with 336 yards for the game. Coane averaged 7.9 yards per carry, which included an 11-yard touchdown run and another rush for 58 yards.
Not only did Coane lead the way on the ground, but he also paced the Blue and Red with 75 receiving yards on just three catches. The sophomore also scored on a 66-yard pass in the third quarter. With a career-high 329 all-purpose yards, Coane was announced as the HCAC's offensive player of the week for the second consecutive week on Monday, Oct. 22.
Through the air, junior AJ Breit (Louisville, Ky.) gashed the Spartans for 241 yards, completing 13-of-22 passes. Breit also tossed four touchdowns, including a pair in the first quarter to junior Taylor Bleistein (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) and sophomore Jared Frank (Louisville, Ky.), as the Panthers were tied at the intermission, 14-14.
Bleistein would lead the team in receptions with four, while covering 44 yards. Frank had just two receptions but went for 57 yards, including his 30-yard score.
The second half belonged to HC, as the defense flexed its muscle, allowing just 79 total yards, which included any defensive penalty that was accepted. Hanover also conceded zero points to Manchester over the last two quarters.
Leading the overall defensive efforts were sophomore Kyle Treber (Mishawaka, Ind.) and junior Dakota Manion (West Lafayette, Ind.). Treber paced the Panthers with 11 total tackles, while also being in on one tackle for loss. Manion added seven stops, including one sack, and picked off a pass in the fourth quarter as well.
Senior Brody Dell (Tipton, Ind.) pitched in with eight tackles, one for loss, while junior Carson Plessinger (Alexandria, Ky.) and senior Zach Dauer (Cincinnati, Ohio) added five stops each. Freshman Kiefer Askew (Warner Robins, Ga.) led the secondary coverage with four pass breakups.
Second half scoring started with Coane finding the endzone twice, putting HC in front 27-14 with 9:39 remaining in the third quarter. Breit then connected with sophomore Matt Pica (Delray Beach, Fla.) in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter on a 40-yard touchdown, giving the Blue and Red a 20-point advantage, 34-14.
Rushing touchdowns from sophomore Walt Ballinger (Beech Grove, Ind.) and junior Jake Namisnak (Indianapolis, Ind.) in the closing minutes capped the scoring at 48-14. Ballinger averaged nearly 10 yards per carry, as he rushed for 37 yards on just four tries. Namisnak added 36 yards on 10 carries.
Hanover will look to stay unbeaten in conference play with a pivotal matchup against Mt. St. Joseph (Ohio) this Saturday, Oct. 27. The Panthers and Lions are slated for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff in Hanover, Ind., as the contest will feature two teams with a combined 10-1 HCAC record this fall.
Contact: Tyler Jester