Brimming with confidence from its 5-0 start, the Hanover football team chose to receive the ball to start Friday night's game against Fairfield.
Five plays later, the Nighthawk defense took the field. The Green Knights had picked off Hanover quarterback Kyle Krout, just the third interception for the senior.
Three plays later, Hanover had the ball back, and a seven-play drive led to the Hawks' first touchdown, spurring Hanover to a 53-14 rout against Fairfield.
Nighthawks head coach Bill Reichart said that start should serve as a reminder that not everything will come easy for his team.
"I am so proud of them. I have labeled them a cast of characters who have found character in our system," he said. "These kids seem to really rise up when our backs are against the wall. As a coach, I sometimes question why we have to get so far against the wall before they rise up."
That rise didn't take long. The first score — a 10-yard run by Jordan Laughman — came midway through the first quarter. After a tough fourth-down stand by the defense four minutes later, Hanover (6-0, 3-0 YAIAA Division III) needed just three plays to take a 16-0 lead.
That score came on a 70-yard pass play from senior quarterback Kyle Krout to Resean Williams. The pair also hooked up for two 43-yard touchdown passes in the second quarter after Fairfield (1-5, 0-3) cut Hanover's lead to 16-6.
By the end of the night, Krout had completed 10-of-15 passes for 216 yards. Williams touched the ball only four times on the night, but he reached the end zone every time. He also scored on a 52-yard run that came after the Hawks recovered a Fairfield onside kick.
"Resean played a wonderful game tonight, probably the best game of his career," Reichart said.
Hanover's defense did bend a bit. Fairfield sophomore quarterback Darien Mort finished with 267 passing yards, including 10 completions to Matt Petrie for 199 yards. But the Green Knights could never get their running game going thanks to the stout Hanover defense. Reichart credited his team's conditioning for a solid second half.
"Hats off to their quarterback. That kid gave us fits all night long. They earned everything they got tonight. They came in and played a good game," he said. "We know we have a very good offensive line and a very good defensive line, size-wise. Playing our game and having confidence in our game, eventually our size, our stamina, our conditioning should manifest itself and give us a big advantage late in the game."
Laughman and Colten Ehrhart rounded out the scoring with fourth-quarter touchdown runs for Hanover, which heads to Littlestown next week. Reichart said the enthusiasm needs to remain focused in the second half of the season.
"These kids are gaining a world of confidence out here. They are a good football team. They are earning all the success they are getting," he said. "The record shows that they are a good football team. I tell them every day we take the practice field, the goal is to become a better football team. "
H — Jordan Laughman 10 run (Deandre Kerr run), 6:18
H — Resean Williams 70 pass from Kyle Krout (Laughman run), 1:29
F — Aaron Moore 9 pass from Darian Mort (run failed), 6:52
H — Williams 43 pass from Krout (Laughman run), 4:22
H — Williams 43 pass from Krout (Colten Ehrhart run), 1:54
F — Mort 2 run (Matt Petrie pass from Mort), 7:05
H — Williams 52 run (Ehrhart run), 6:51
H — Laughman 7 run (run failed), 10:19
H — Ehrhart 16 run (Everett Kenworthy kick), 7:06
FH First downs1314 Rushes-yards34-4226-209 Passing18-37-010-15-1 Passing yards267216 Total yards309425 Punts4-21.32-40.5 Fumbles-lost3-22-1 Penalties-yards8-807-70
Rushing —F, Charlie Burnett 13-33, Tyler Karsteter 4-13, Matt Petrie 1-(-1), Darian Mort 16-(-3). H, Jordan Laughman 16-114, Resean Williams 1-52, DeAndre Kerr 1-6, Colten Ehrhart 1-16, Kyle Krout 1-9, Justin Barnes 1-5, Devon Bell 2-3, Nick Seymour 1-2, Camden Mumma 2-(-8).
Passing — F, Mort 18-37-0-267. H, Krout 10-15-1-216, Mumma 0-0-0-0.
Receiving — F, Petrie 10-199, Aaron Moore 6-50, Burnett 1-11, Karsteter 1-7. H, Williams 3-156, Ehrhart 2-21, Hunter Martz 1-13, Luis Lara 1-10, Seymour 1-10, Laughman 1-4, Austin Bryson 1-2.