Delone Catholic head coach Corey Zortman discusses his team's season after beating Hanover, 31-14, Friday night. Matt Allibone
Brian Shermeyer jump-started the Delone Catholic offense in a different way Friday night.
Playing against Hanover in their season finale, the Squires trailed in the second quarter when their senior quarterback made a game-changing play from his safety position on defense. Shermeyer scooped up a fumble and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown to give Delone Catholic its first lead of the game.
The Squires would never relinquish that lead, pulling away from the Nighthawks in the second half for a 31-14 home victory. Shermeyer led the way on both sides on the ball, going 8-of-11 for 89 yards and a touchdown while also running for a score.
"I think it was (Zach) Schussler, he came over and hit the runner as he got the ball and ripped it out," Shermeyer said. "It came right up to me, I couldn't ask for a prettier bounce and I was already at a full speed sprint. It got us going."
While the Squires (7-3, 4-3 YAIAA Division III) ended the season without reaching their goal of making the District 3 Class 2A title game, they still finished with a three-win improvement from last season. Delone will graduate nearly half its roster, according to head coach Corey Zortman.
It was an emotional scene after the game for many Delone players, especially senior Zach Hart and junior Ryan Hart. The two brothers carried the team's offense all season, and combined for 238 total yards on Friday.
"I blocked for him, he blocked for me...we feed off each other's excitement," Ryan Hart said. "I've never had to play a season without him, I don't know what I'm going to do next year. I look up to him so much."
Early on, it looked like Delone's season might end in disappointing fashion. Hanover's defense kept the Squires in check in the first quarter and Nighthawks quarterback Cam Mumma tossed a 27-yard touchdown to ReSean Williams to put Delone down seven in the second.
But while Mumma made his fair share of plays and finished with 187 passing yards, Delone prevented the Nighthawks from finishing off most of their drives. After Shermeyer's fumble return gave the Squires a three-point halftime lead, Delone outscored Hanover 21-7 in the second half.
And though the Squires ran the ball effectively, they also established a solid passing attack as well. Shermeyer completed three passes 15 yards or longer and tossed an 8-yard score to Zach Hart in the third quarter.
"We made the change (from the Wing-T) to the I (formation) to just allow our guys to play," Zortman said. "Once you get the running game going you get the play-action pass. Shermeyer's a great leader, a great quarterback and it felt good for him on his senior night to make some plays."
The Nighthawks (5-5, 3-4) finished the season at .500 despite losing most of last year's starters and Mumma for half of this season to injury. While Hanover wasn't able to repeat as Division III champions, head coach Bill Reichart said he was proud of how the player's handled numerous setbacks.
"Not yet, but I will learn to call this a successful season," Reichart said. "We faced adversity, more so this year than last. I'm really proud of how we responded to it."
Han -- ReSean Williams 27 pass from Cam Mumma (Everett Kenworthy kick), 11:54
DC -- Brandon Hall 28 field goal, 8:18
DC -- Brian Shermeyer 57 fumble return (Hall kick), 7:28
DC -- Shermeyer 2 run (Hall kick), 6:42
Han -- Josh Postell 62 pass from Mumma (Kenworthy kick), 5:50
DC -- Zach Hart 8 pass from Shermeyer (Hall kick), 3:03
DC -- Sean Sneeringer 51 run (Hall kick), 6:47
Rushing — Han, Justin Barnes 9-39, Logan Brown 6-15, Cam Mumma 4-(-10), ReSean Williams 2-0. DC, Zach Hart 17-87, Ryan Hart 18-97, Sean Sneeringer 2-59, Brian Shermeyer, 6-20, Logan Panzer 1-9, Andrew Hernandez 3-3, Alec Maitland 2-1.
Passing — Han, Mumma 12-26-187-0. DC, Shermeyer 8-11-89-0.
Receiving — Han, Williams 2-34, Josh Postell 4-82, Hunter Martz 6-71. DC, Ryan Hart 3-40, Zach Hart 3-14, Hernandez 1-20, Sneeringer 1-15.