Bill Reichart finds himself in quite a different position than he was in at this time last season. It's also a challenge that many of his peers would love to have.
"The task is trying to keep them grounded," the Hanover football coach said. "It's easy to lose focus when things are not going well, but it's also easy when they are going well."
Things are indeed going very well for the Nighthawks this season. After winning a combined four games in the last four seasons, Hanover is off to a 4-0 start to the 2015 campaign.
Wins against James Buchanan and Kennard-Dale were a good start. But in the last two weeks, the Nighthawks raised some eyebrows by topping Eastern York — a District 3 Class AAA playoff team in 2014 — and perennial YAIAA Division III power Bermudian Springs.
However, don't call this turnaround a surprise. Reichart had high expectations entering the season.
"So far it's been a surprise to everyone but ourselves," he said. "We felt we were going to be good, and in games. Maybe we have exceeded expectations that we are 4-0."
Reichart is in his second season as head coach and his 10th overall at Hanover, where he came up through the ranks starting as a seventh and eighth grade coach. He knew that providing stability was a key part of the job in a program that has had its share of head coaching changes.
"I looked at the things I wanted to change," he said. "I give all the credit to our group of hard-working kids and assistant coaches. A lot of kids knew me and respected not only me, but my abilities."
Perhaps what makes the Hawks' run so amazing is that Hanover graduated the YAIAA's top receiver, Dylan Krieger, last year. Krieger led the league in nearly every statistical category, including his 1,279 receiving yards.
Of course, the one that threw the ball to Krieger — quarterback Kyle Krout — led the league in passing as a junior and is off to another great start in his final season. Krout has targets this year, too. And the team is running the ball better.
"It's a credit to our system, particularly on offense. Losing the league's top receiver, I believe we are the same statistically passing the ball. We just spread it out more," Reichart said. "We have finally achieved balance."
The Hawks have made the biggest strides on defense. Hanover has allowed a total of only 34 points, including its season-opening shutout at James Buchanan.
"The biggest change that is somewhat a surprise would be our defense," Reichart said. "I always felt that defense created excitement. I believe you are seeing the results of it being the second year in the system."
The coach also is aware things aren't going to get easier as the Division III season rolls along. He knows teams are gunning for the Nighthawks, adding, "They are not going to take us lightly."
"Even though we are 4-0 and heading into our fifth game, we have more to do."
Hanover hosts York Catholic on Friday night. The Fighting Irish will enter that contest on a high note after getting in the win column last week against Delone Catholic.
Kickoff has been pushed up to 6 p.m. because of the rainy forecast.