Hanover's road warriors willing to go "to the moon"
At the first day of Hanover football practice last month, Jason Potts made the best of his team's unenviable situation.
Right away, the Nighthawks fourth-year coach attacked perhaps the biggest storyline surrounding his football team: That due to renovations being undertaken at Sheppard-Myers Field, Hanover would have to play its first seven games this season on the road.
"I’m telling you the honest to God's honest truth," Potts said. "We had one meeting about this as a team. We said ‘Listen, this is the way it’s going to have to be. It doesn’t matter where we go; we’re going to war on Friday nights. It doesn’t matter if we’re going to the Moon.
"We have to get over it, it's that smiple. We made it non-issue, immediately. ... We have other things we have to focus on. Why even spend time worrying about it?"
And with that, Hanover moved on to more pressing issues. Like figuring out how to build on last fall's 5-5 turnaround campaign. The Nighthawks return the majority of their starters, many of whom have two or three years of varsity experience.
That group will have to brave a few more road trips than usual. In addition to their typical away slate, Hanover was forced to move three games -- Littlestown, York Catholic and York County Tech -- away from Sheppard-Myers.
None of which should completely blunt the momentum surrounding a Nighthawks program that won a single game in each of Potts first two seasons. The coach has even added a few tweaks this season: A influx of pass plays to balance out the offense, and a switch to a 3-4 base defense.
The road swing starts Friday, with a visit to a Dover team which, like Hanover, is coming off a resurgent season. The Eagles finished 6-5 and qualified for the District 3 playoffs for the first time since 1996.
"(Dover coach Bill Miller) was under fire, just as I was," Potts said. "We took our lumps. But you have to be patient."
Dover returns its most talented and experienced group in ages, which means Hanover's first road test will also be one of its toughest.
"They're big, experienced," Potts said. "But we are not afraid. And we are coming to win the game. We’re going to do whatever we have to do to win the game."