For a team that has not trailed at any point during this season, the Hanover High School football team has still had to face its share of adversity.
York County Tech came into Sheppard & Myers Stadium on Friday looking to ruin the Nighthawks' homecoming celebration. The teams went into halftime tied 16-16 after two quarters featuring big plays and big mistakes from both teams.
"We had our backs against the wall, not that we were ever behind. We were certainly in a game, and I challenged them at halftime just to go out and take care of business," said Hanover coach Bill Reichart. "They always do. They find a way."
The 8-0 Nighthawks ripped off 37 unanswered points with four players scoring touchdowns in the final 24 minutes to beat the Spartans, 53-16.
Reichart's team took a tie game and turned it into a 38-16 rout over a 7:22 stretch in the third quarter to improve to 5-0 in YAIAA Division III. On Tech's first drive of the half, the defensive line stopped fullback Matthew Rossi on a key third down play, and then Austin Snyder chased down Tech quarterback Demarius Wiggins on a fake punt attempt.
"Right out of halftime, that big stop on third down was huge," said Hanover quarterback Kyle Krout. "(York Tech was) going into halftime with a ton of momentum. To get that stop was just huge for us, and that sparked the fire."
The backfield duo of Jordan Laughman and Justin Barnes keyed that fire. After the big stop, Laughman ran the ball six straight plays for a 36-yard march down the field to break the tie with his second touchdown of the night. Barnes, a sophomore who spells the speedy Laughman, had three big carries, including a 3-yard scoring run, on the next Hanover drive.
"Justin and Jordan are a duo that I would not want to get in front of," said Krout, who hit Bill Morris for a key fourth-down conversion on that second drive. "Jordan is shifty, and he can run someone over. Justin just puts his head down. He's dangerous."
Barnes added a second score in the fourth quarter. Colten Ehrhart and Luis Lara caught second-half touchdown passes from Krout, who finished with 208 yards passing. Resean Williams also got in the scoring act for Hanover, taking the opening kickoff back for a touchdown.
Tech showed flashes in the first half as Wiggins hooked up with Jordan Ray for a pair of scoring passes, and the senior signal-caller rushed for 116 yards on the night.
In the end though, the Spartans (2-6, 1-4) could not solve Hanover's experience and depth.
"We figured out what they were doing in the first half," Reichart said. "We tried to make changes in the second quarter. We just made a few more adjustments at halftime, and I was very pleased with the way the defense handled things in the second half."
Hanover closes the season with Biglerville and longtime rival Delone Catholic. Krout said there's no reason to do anything but soak in the atmosphere surrounding the team.
"I'm just worried about enjoying it, really," Krout said. "(Assistant) coach (Brandon) Bishop said to us in the beginning of the game, 'Look around.' These stands are filled. You don't see this too often around here. It's something (the students) needs to take in and enjoy. And we need to get two more wins.'"
York County Tech8800—16Hanover882215—53
Han — Resean Williams 85 kickoff return (Jordan Laughman run), 11:42
YCT — Jordan Ray 67 pass from Damarius Wiggins (Maurice James pass from Wiggins), 9:53
Han — Laughman 2 run (Nick Seymour pass from Kyle Krout), 9:59
YCT — Ray 20 pass from Wiggins (Wiggins run), 5:22
Han — Laughman 3 run (run failed), 7:53
Han — Justin Barnes 3 run (Hunter Martz pass from Krout), 3:40
Han — Colten Ehrhart 15 pass from Krout (Ehrhart pass from Krout), 2:31
Han — Luis Lara 58 pass from Krout (Deandre Kerr run), 10:58
Han — Barnes 21 run (Everett Kenworthy kick), 8:30
YCTHanFirst downs1419 Rushes-yards37-16631-188 Passing7-20-115-21-0 Passing yards111212 Total yards277400 Punts3-29.30-0 Fumbles-lost5-23-2 Penalties-yards9-485-50
Rushing —YCT, Demarius Wiggins 17-116, Matthew Rossi 14-49, Benjamin Jackson 2-14, Maurice James 4-(-13). Han, Jordan Laughman 19-95, Justin Barnes 6-70, Deandre Kerr 3-27, Colten Ehgrhart 1-2, Sam Duvall 1-(-3), Logan Brown 1-(-4)
Passing — YCT, Wiggins 7-20-1-111, James 0-0-0-0. Han, Krout 14-20-0-208, Duvall 1-1-0-4.
Receiving — YCT, Jordan Ray 2-87, Isaiah Colon 2-17, Rossi 2-7, Jackson 1-0. Han, Resean Williams 5-51, Bill Morris 4-31, Luis Lara 2-95, Ehrhart 2-27, Nick Seymour 1-4, Nick Kime 1-4.