Matt Allibone and Teddy Feinberg talk about the upcoming season of YAIAA Division III football.
Hanover won't be an afterthought anymore after winning nine games last season and qualifying for the district playoffs.
There's a renewed interest in the Nighthawks in the community, but there will be challenges to following up last year's success.
Hanover returns only five letterwinners from last year's team: three on defense and two on offense. That shortlist does not include quarterback Kyle Krout, who threw for 22 touchdowns, or running back Jordan Laughman, who ran for 1,046 yards. Both were among the 14 seniors who graduated.
It's not just production that needs to be replaced, but leadership, too. How quickly that happens could dictate how much success this new group of Nighthawks will find.
Quarterback: The Week 1 starter will likely be junior Cam Mumma, although other underclassmen could challenge for the job.
Running backs: Junior Justin Barnes will step into the spotlight after sharing carries with Laughman last season.
“We have very high expectations for him," Hanover coach Bill Reichart said. "He plays hard and he runs hard, and we’re gonna need that.”
Receivers: Resean Williams, now a senior, broke onto the scene last year with several big plays as he amassed 577 yards on 29 receptions. The Nighthawks will look to get him the ball more often, on both long throws and short ones, to give him a chance to make plays.
Fabian Lara is one of several sophomores who should see time at the other receiver positions. Senior Hunter Martz will likely line up at tight end.
Offensive line: Senior Daxton Yike and junior Bryce Hart will be the two returning starters on the line.
YAIAA Division III football players discuss a variety of topics, including their favorite NFL players and most embarrassing moments. Matt Allibone
Defensive line: Yike and Hart will be the returning linemen on this side of the ball, as well. Reichart also expects production from Dylan Stair, an energetic player who saw time last season.
Linebackers: Martz and Barnes will be looked on to lead this unit.
Secondary: Williams will be the only returning starter in what will be a very young defensive backfield.
Barnes will punt for the second year in a row, while soccer player Everett Kenworthy will kick. Hanover went for two a lot last year thanks to kicking woes, but Reichart said he hopes that won't be the case this time around.
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Save the date
Both of Hanover's losses last season came against Biglerville, first in Week 9 of the regular season on the road and then in the first week of the playoffs at home. So you can bet the Nighthawks will have this year's Week 9 game against Biglerville circled as an opportunity to get revenge.
It would be unreasonable to expect Hanover to repeat last year's success with so many of those players gone, but the Nighthawks do return some talent and seem to have an attitude that they expect to win games. Putting another winning season together would go a long way in sending a message to everyone, including those coming up within the program, that last year was no fluke.
In the huddle
Head coach: Bill Reichart (11-10 in two seasons)
Assistant coaches: Brandon Bishop (OC), Will Rider (DC), Doug Laugerman, Josh Livelsberger
Class: 2A, YAIAA Division III
Enrollment: 378 (184 male)
Sept. 2 — James Buchanan at Hanover, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 — Hanover at Kennard-Dale, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 — Annville-Cleona at Hanover, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 — Bermudian Springs at Hanover, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 — Hanover at York Catholic, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 — Hanover at Fairfield, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14* — Littlestown at Hanover, 7 p.m.
Oct. 22 — Hanover at York County Tech, 10 a.m.
Oct. 28 — Biglerville at Hanover, 7 p.m.
Nov. 4 — Hanover at Delone Catholic, 7 p.m.
W // @ James Buchanan // 33-0
W // @ Kennard-Dale // 41-14
W // Eastern York // 13-6
W // @ Bermudian Springs // 22-14
W // York Catholic // 20-13
W // Fairfield // 53-14
W // @ Littlestown // 36-14
W // York County Tech // 53-16
L // @ Biglerville // 21-42
W // Delone Catholic // 45-20
District 3 Class AA
First Round // L // Biglerville // 7-30