Hanover's days of surprising people are over.
That's the realization coach Bill Reichart came to after Friday's win, knowing that his team's surprising 4-0 start means there will be a target on the Nighthawks' backs every game for the rest of this season.
Hanover put all of YAIAA Division III on high alert Friday night by knocking off Bermudian Springs, the defending division champions and long-time division powerhouse, by a 22-14 score in both teams' division opener.
"I know we're a big surprise for everyone, but we're honestly not a surprise for me," Reichard said. "I had a very high expectation for this team coming into the season, and the work these guys put in the summer months raised the bar."
The Nighthawks (1-0 Division III) marched 95 yards on 10 plays to take the lead on their first offensive possession and never relinquished that lead for the remainder of the game.
They led 14-0 at halftime but still found themselves needing a big play to put the game away late in the fourth quarter after that lead shriveled to six points. That's when quarterback Kyle Krout, on a fourth-and-1, dropped back and slung a fastball to Hunter Martz for a 32-yard pass to put the Nighthawks 4 yards from the end zone with a little more than two minutes remaining.
"I trust in him 100 percent," Reichart said of Krout, a senior who went 13-of-20 for 233 yards. "The defense tonight threw a few wrinkles at us, as I suspected they would, but I'm not the quarterback and he is. He's the guy I want in the game."
Hanover failed to score after that play, but the swing in field position set up a safety when Bermudian Springs quarterback Chase Dull, under duress from several Hanover defenders swarming around him, committed an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone with 19 seconds left.
Dull, a freshman, started under center for Bermudian Springs (0-4, 0-1) for the first time. He went 12-of-20 for 167 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. His 12 completions more than tripled the Eagles' season total as they had just five in their first three games.
"It's not really his natural position, but I thought he did a real nice job," Bermudian Springs coach Jon DeFoe said of Dull. "He's ailing a little bit physically, you can tell in his movement. But he's only going to get better."
Bermudian Springs, still searching for its first win after replacing 20 starters from last year's team, will face Fairfield (1-3) next week.
Hanover will host York Catholic (1-3) as it tries to stay undefeated. The Nighthawks' current record is the best mark that Reichart, who played for the district champion team in 1985, can remember them having.
"I can't remember a 4-0 start," he said. "That '85 team did not come out 4-0. This team likely has the potential to do a lot of very special things this year. We have to stay healthy like every high school team does, and we have to stay dedicated and maintain our work ethic."
Hanover 22, Bermudian Springs 14
H — Deandre Kerr 23 run (Justin Barnes kick), 5:41.
H — Resean Williams 35 pass from Kyle Krout (Barnes kick), 9:58.
BS — Devon Hodgen 27 pass from Chase Dull (Noah Aeppli kick), 5:37.
H — Jordan Laughman 6 run (kick blocked), 11:09.
BS — Hodgen 17 pass from Dull (Aeppli kick), 3:19.
H — Intentional grounding penalty, team safety, 0:19.
HanBeSFirst downs1411Rushes-yards33-7029-64Passing13-2012-20Passing yards233167Total yards303231Punts3-30.674-37.75Fumbles-lost0-01-1Penalties-yards4-287-61
Rushing — H, Jordan Laughman 22-56, Deandre Kerr 3-28, Kyle Krout 3-(-15), Devon Bell 3-(-3), Nick Seymour 1-4, Colton Ehrhart 1-0. BeS, Devon Hodgen 11-33, Chase Dull 10-10, Ashton West 8-21.
Passing — H, Krout 13-20-233-1. BeS, Dull 12-20-167-1.
Receiving — H, Resean Williams 5-75, Luis Lara 2-61, Bill Morris 2-27, Seymour 2-34, Ehrhart 1-4, Hunter Martz 1-32. BeS, West 4-47, Hodgen 4-43, Trevor Grim 2-51, Brandon Jackson 1-18, Quinton Nace 1-8.