CARMEL, Ind. – The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference unveiled the 2019 football All-Conference Teams and Player of Year awards Wednesday afternoon. The Blue and Red saw three Panthers claim top honors in junior Shawn Coane (Evansville, Ind.), junior Kyle Treber (Mishawaka, Ind.) and Head Coach Matt Theobald, while 18 were named All-Conference.
The 2019 HCAC Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Conference selection, Coane led the league in touchdowns with 16 while ranking second in yards (924-yards), second in yards per game (132.0-ypg), and third in yards per carry (7.1). The junior running back also etched his name into the Hanover record books becoming the career rushing yards leader with 3,031 breaking the previous record of 3,022 set back in 1973-77. He also set the single season rushing touchdown record with an impressive 19 endzone visits breaking the previous record of 17 set in 1948. In addition to his work on the ground, Coane made 33 catches in 2019 for 277-yards and two scores.
First Team All-Conference honoree, junior Kyle Treber was named the HCAC Defensive Player of the Year following an outstanding campaign. The junior was fourth in the league with 77 tackles, and his 7.7 tackles per game average was fifth best in the conference. Treber also ranked among the top ten in solo tackles (31) coming in at number six and assisted tackles (19) ranking ninth overall. The linebacker was also a part of a record-breaking defense that set league records in passing yards allowed (116.3) and points per game among conference play (7.7).
With the Panthers unblemished 7-0 record in conference play and a berth into the 2019 NCAA Division III Football Playoffs, Coach Theobald and staff was unanimously named the HCAC Coach of the Year for the second consecutive time. The Blue and Red ranked among the league's best in total scoring (292), total offense (3,398-yards), rushing TDs (23) and points allowed (54). The Panthers perfect mark in HCAC action is the best record dating back to the 2003 season. They concluded the 2019 campaign ranking seventh among the NCAA DIII North region while also receiving votes in the both the AFCA Coaches' poll and the D3Football.com poll.
Also earning First Team honors for the Panthers were sophomore Kiefer Askew (Warner Robins, Ga.), senior Taylor Bleistein (Wesley Chapel, Fla.), senior Adam Grabert (Mount Vernon, Ind.), freshman Devonte Hardiman (Princeton, Ind.), senior Dakota Manion (West Lafayette, Ind.), senior Dylon Neff (Moores Hill, Ind.), junior Ben Panitz (Wellington, Fla.), senior Carson Plessinger (Alexandria, Ky.), junior Noah Wezensky (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and senior Sam Smith (Aurora, Ind.).
On the defensive side of the ball, Askew alongside Adam Grabert, Hardiman, Panitz, and Plessinger combined forces to create what deemed an unstoppable unit. Askew finished the year with 28 total tackles including a team-high four interceptions and 12 pass breakups.
Adam Grabert appeared in nine games this season for the Blue and Red making 27 tackles with four tackles for loss. The senior also registered two pass breakups.
The freshman phenom did not disappoint as Hardiman was named HCAC Defensive Player of the Week on two separate occasions with 31 total tackles and a team-high 9.5 sacks, ranking him second in the HCAC. He also finished the 2019 campaign with 12 tackles for loss totaling 84-yards.
Manion finished tied for second on the Panther defense for tackles this season with 55 while averaging 5.5 tackles per contest. The senior added 2.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss totaling 30-yards with an interception.
Leading the tackling efforts this season was Treber with a team-high 77 total tackles ranking him among the best in the HCAC. The senior averaged a team-best 7.7 tackles per contest with 2.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
Plessinger also found himself in the backfield this season as the senior had four sacks for a loss of 24-yards. He finished the year with 48 total tackles and seven tackles for loss.
Panitz finished the 2019 season with 18 total tackles while registering two tackles for loss. The junior also notched three pass breakups.
Offensively, Wezensky piloted an HCAC leading offense that saw the junior throw for 21 touchdowns and 2,346-yards. The gun slinger averaged 234.6 yards per game with 179 total completions.
His top target appeared to be Bleistein who finished the year with 33 receptions, including a team-high eight touchdowns. The senior averaged 67.6 yards per game with a season-best reception coming in at 75-yards. Bleistein posted two 100-yard games in 2019 with a season-best 153-yards coming in the team's opener with Centre.
Neff and Smith provided the coverage up front for the Blue and Red that allowed Wezensky time in the backfield to help propel the Panther offense to top rankings in scoring, total offense, and touchdowns. Joining the duo on the offensive line were HCAC Second Team selections, senior Carter Chastain (Paoli, Ind.) and sophomore Jacob Metzler (Trenton, Ohio).
Also earning HCAC Second Team honors for the Blue and Red were senior Jackson Daugherty (Greenwood, Ind.), senior Conner Gibson (Lexington, Ky.), and junior Austin Steurer (Warsaw, Ky.). Daugherty played multiple roles for the Panthers from wide receiver to punt returner. The senior registered eight returns for 53-yards, averaging 6.6 yards per return. The wide receiver finished the year with 33 receptions for 351 total yards.
Gibson led the team his senior season in receptions (42) and receptions per game (4.7). He tallied five touchdown catches with 591 total yards, averaging 65.7 yards per game.
A two-time HCAC Special Teams Player of the Week selection, Steurer led the conference in extra point attempts made with 53 while posting a 96 percent rating. The junior also tallied two field goals on five attempts.
Rounding out the All-Conference awards for the Panthers was junior Walt Ballinger (Beech Grove, Ind.) being named Honorable Mention. The junior tallied 665-yards on 76 rushes, averaging 66.5 yards per game. The running back tallied six touchdowns with a season long run of 58-yards coming In the teams' victory over Manchester.
The Blue and Red return to action on Saturday, Nov. 23 as they travel to Alliance, Ohio for the opening round of the NCAA DIII Playoffs. The no. one ranked Mount Union Purple Raiders and Panthers are set to kickoff at noon.