Hanover and Susquehannock met Friday night in a preseason scrimmage. Defenses were strong early but the offenses eventually caught up. Matt Allibone
Hanover and Susquehannock both enter 2016 with plenty to prove. The Nighthawks are determined to show that last season's 9-2 record wasn't a fluke, while the Warriors want to contend in Division II after going 5-5 in 2015.
During Friday's night's preseason scrimmage at Hanover's Sheppard-Myers Stadium, both squads struggled in certain areas but also showed promise. Although score wasn't officially kept, Susquehannock reached the end zone twice with its first-team offense and Hanover's starters scored once.
Here are three takeaways:
Both teams are entering the fall with new faces under center. Hanover junior Cam Mumma is set to replace Kyle Krout, and Susquehannock senior Chase Summers replaces Jake Stoneberg.
On Friday, both signal callers looked untested at first but improved after a couple of series. Mumma did a nice job hitting receivers on shorter routes, and Summers utilized dumping the ball off to his running backs to move the Warriors down the field.
Neither player produced any big-play highlights, but that was more because both teams ran the ball heavily. Susquehannock operates out of the Wing-T, and Hanover is still "feeling" its offensive strategy out after throwing heavily last season, according to head coach Bill Reichart.
"I think Cam did everything we expected of him," Reichart said. "A couple misreads I'll maybe find when I scrutinize the film, but he did pretty good."
Added Susquehannock coach Steve Wiles: "(Summers) put the ball where it needed to be most of the time. I think he was a little late with a couple of throws, we had one drop, but overall I was pretty happy with his play."
Running game shines
During the first few series on Friday, running backs on both teams weren't having much success. Holes to run through were scarce, defensive line penetration was plentiful and backs frequently found themselves stopped for little or no gains.
But things opened up as the evening went along. Hanover's Logan Brown displayed a tough running style and produced the team's only score from about 10 yards out. Susquehannock fullbacks Jack Allred and Kyle Orndorff carried the team's offense for most of the evening.
Allred scored both of the Warriors' touchdowns, one from a few yards out and another on a long run, and Orndorff set up the first score by breaking a short reception for a big gain.
"Pretty much our offense is going to revolve around Jack, and in the wing-T it usually does with the fullback," Wiles said. "We want to run the ball, grind it out, throw some play-action in there and hopefully catch some teams sleeping."
Defenses look stout
Both coaches seemed pleased with the play of their defenses on Friday. While the offenses eventually caught up, defenders dominated early as quarterbacks were under pressure at times while backs were bottled up.
The key for both teams was the play of the linemen and linebackers. There were plenty of good battles in the trenches and backers like Hanover's Hunter Martz flew to the ball when needed.
"I think it was pretty even up front there," Reichart said. "One thing I take as a success, Coach Wiles' offense is built on the run first and the pass second, and he was passing a lot more than he typically would. I think that in itself is a compliment to our defense."