Defensive Efforts Propel the Hanover Panthers to Victory

Defensive Efforts Propel the Hanover Panthers to Victory

MARYVILLE, Tenn. – The Hanover Panther defense stepped up big in the teams first road test of the season as the Blue and Red forced four Scot turnovers to capture the convincing 31-10 victory.

In the contest, the Panthers (2-1 overall) were led by the defensive efforts of sophomore Kiefer Askew (Warner Robins, Ga.) who forced two Maryville interceptions. Under center, junior Noah Wezensky (Fort Wayne, Ind.) finished with 193-yards through the air and one touchdown. The ground efforts were led by junior Shawn Coane (Evansville, Ind.) rushing for 141-yards and a score. The junior posted a game long 69-yard scamper.

Hanover won the toss and elected to the second half placing the powerful Panther defense on the field first and they did not disappoint. The Scots traveled 42-yards on five plays before Askew picked off the Maryville quarterback halting the drive.

The Blue and Red looked to get something going on their opening drive as Coane got the call traveling six yards to the Hanover 26-yard line before being taken down. The big play of the drive came on third and three as Wezensky found senior Taylor Bleistein (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) for a 19-yard pickup. However, the Scots would stall the drive at the their own 31-yard line forcing a Panther punt.

Much like the opening drive the Scots found themselves on the wrong end of another turnover as an interception by senior Kaleb Grabert (Mount Vernon, Ind.) set the Panther offense up at its own 44-yard line with three minutes to play in the first quarter.

Despite two interceptions in the opening period, Hanover was unable to find the end zone leaving the first quarter tied at 0-0 with the Scots.

The Scots would strike first early in the second quarter as the Maryville kicker split the up rights with a 25-yard field goal attempt, 3-0.

The Panthers responded traveling 62-yards on 11 plays for the Panther touchdown. The drive started at roughly the 11:00 minute mark for the Blue and Red were Coane went to work. The running back got the call on back-to-back plays traveling 10-yards for a Panther first down. Wezensky then went to the air finding junior Matt Pica (Delray Beach, Fla.) for an 11-yard pickup before another Coane outburst placed Hanover inside Maryville territory. Late in the drive, Wezensky would connect with senior Jackson Daugherty (Greenwood, Ind.) to put the Panthers in the red zone before a three-yard scamper by Coane gave them the go-ahead score, 7-3.

Hanover found the endzone one more time late in the second quarter as a Wezensky to junior Jared Frank (Louisville, Ky.) hook up pushed the HC advantage to 14-3 at half.

The Panther defense continued to dominate in the contest as they forced the Scots to punt on their opening drive of the second half giving the Blue and Red the ball at their own 40-yard line. Facing a third and 11-yards, Wezensky dealt clutch as he connected with senior Conner Gibson (Lexington, Ky.) for the 11-yard reception and a first down. However, the Scot defense stepped up big in the red zone forcing a Panther field goal with 7:03 remaining, 17-3.

Senior Matt Rier (Wellington, Fla.) sketched his name into the stat sheet as senior Carson Plessinger (Alexandria, Ky.) forced a fumble on third and nine that was recovered by Rier who took it 22-yards for the score, 24-3.

Maryville broke the goal line for the first time on the following drive traveling 82-yards on eight plays to cut the deficit to 24-10 with just 2:20 remaining in the third quarter.

Hanover would tack on the game's final score in the fourth quarter as they traveled 49-yards on two plays led by a 46-yard rush by junior Walt Ballinger (Beech Grove, Ind.) that secured the 31-10 victory.

The Blue and Red return to action on Saturday, September 28 when they open Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action with Bluffton. Kickoff from Alumni Stadium is set for 1:30 PM.