CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Hanover Panthers used a balanced attack to surge past Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opponent Mount. St. Joseph 27-3 on the road in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Panthers (7-1 overall, 5-0 HCAC) passed for 225-yards and added another 218-yards on the ground but it was the defense that came through in a huge way for the Blue and Red.
Despite Mount St. Joseph's quarterback being ranked in the top-10 nationally in both passing yards and touchdowns, Hanover managed to hold the Lions' signal caller to only 270-yards through the air with no passing touchdowns. The Blue and Red also added seven sacks for good measure.
Defense has been stellar for the Panthers since beginning HCAC play as Hanover has now outscored their conference opponents 223-20 through five conference games. Mount St. Joseph had averaged 39.6 points per game heading into the contest before getting held to just three points by the impressive Panther defense.
Leading the scoring charge for the Panthers were junior quarterback Noah Wezensky (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and junior running back Shawn Coane (Evansville, Ind.) who now has back-to-back games with over 150-yards rushing and multiple scores. Wezensky continued his fantastic play at the quarterback position this season by throwing touchdowns of 34-yards and 37-yards to Taylor Bleistein (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) and Jared Frank (Louisville, Ky.) respectively.
Hanover burst out of the gate on the first drive of the game by marching 70-yards down the field in only five plays to take an early 7-0 lead. Coane capped off the opening drive with a 2-yards touchdown run to put the Panthers on the scoreboard just over two minutes into the game.
After a field goal by the Lions, the Panthers answered quickly putting together another impressive drive of seven plays for 77-yards ending in a 34-yards strike from Wezensky to Bleistein. The drive took only 2:57 off the clock and put the Panthers up 13-3 at the end of the first quarter. In their second drive of the second quarter, the Blue and Red found the endzone again as Wezensky fired a touchdown pass to Frank.
With the Panthers up 20-3, Mount St. Joseph began to put together some momentum and had a nice drive in the works when Hanover forced a Lions ball carrier to fumble in Panther territory. The Panthers finished the game with one forced fumble and two turnover-on-downs.
The second half was all Hanover, as the Panthers dominated the Lions on both the offensive and defensive lines. Devonte Hardiman (Princeton, Ind.) led the charge for the defense by leading the team in sacks with 2.5 for a loss of 23-yards.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Panthers scored the only points of the second half when Coane capped off an impressive 14-play 73-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. The long scoring drive took almost seven minutes off the clock putting the Panthers up by the winning score of 27-3.
Not only was the defense impressive, but the discipline of the Panthers was equally as impressive as the Blue and Red were not whistled for a single penalty all game long. Hanover also controlled the ball for 36:53 and completed 62% of their third down conversions.
Hanover returns to action on Saturday, November 9 as they travel to Terre Haute, Ind. to take on Rose-Hulman in a matchup of the top two teams in the HCAC standings.