Sentz leads Biglerville past Hanover in playoff
As the clock ticked past three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Biglerville faced a fourth down from Hanover's five-yard line. The hundreds of fans watching from both teams knew exactly where the ball was going and what the result would be.
Biglerville quarterback Ben Hurda took the snap and flipped the ball to Colton Sentz, who burst through the line of scrimmage and bounded into the end zone to give the Canners a 30-7 lead that would end up being the final score in the District 3 Class AA first-round playoff game.
It marked the fourth touchdown of the game for Sentz, who rushed for 171 yards on 30 carries in a game that gave Hanover fans déjà vu after seeing him rush for 179 yards and two scores just two weeks ago. But this time, Sentz also kicked a field goal and three extra points, allowing him to account for all 30 of Biglerville's points. He also launched punts of 65 and 57 yards to help the Canners control field position and take a 17-0 lead in the first half.
“I knew they were gonna come after me, but I had faith in my line, and that’s where it starts," Sentz said of his second stellar rushing performance against the Nighthawks in three weeks. "Running backs can’t do anything without those hogs up front. We challenged our lineman all week. ... They went above and beyond.”
The offensive line made it happen even though one lineman missed several plays after tweaking his ankle, and another missed a sequence while his helmet was repaired. But reinforcements came in off the bench to help the Canners, as a team, rush for 306 yards on a cold and windy night that wasn't conducive to throwing the ball.
“The fact that they were ready, in this cold weather, to go in and play and perform, says a lot about their character,” Biglerville coach Alex Ramos said of his linemen.
Several minutes after the game ended, the Canners dumped a bucket of water on Ramos' head to celebrate his second playoff win. The last one came against Trinity in 2012.
“It’s the best bath I’ve ever had," Ramos said, wet and shivering and wrapped in a blanket. "First bath I’ve ever had, and the best one. Even last week, I was like, ‘Guys, we just won a league title and I didn’t get a bath, I’m disappointed.’ And they told me, ‘Don’t worry, we ain’t done yet.’”
The fifth-seeded Canners advance to next week's district semifinals to face the winner of Saturday's game between top-seeded Wyomissing and Hamburg. Biglerville has never been past the district semifinals.
The Nighthawks, meanwhile, finish 9-2 with both of their losses this season coming at the hands of the Canners. Hanover won just four games in the previous four seasons combined, but split the YAIAA Division III title with Biglerville this season and hosted the first-round playoff game as the No. 4 seed.
“I told them (after the game) that everything that happens on the football field is very similar to what happens in life," Hanover coach Bill Reichart said. "Take this, learn from it, use it as inspiration. I told them I have the utmost confidence in the graduating seniors to go out and have all success. These kids, they’re the reason why this season was so special.”
Big - Colton Sentz 1 run (Sentz kick), 6:37.
Big - Sentz 27 field goal, 7:19.
Big - Sentz 1 run (Sentz kick), 6:20.
Han - Justin Barnes 1 run (Everett Kenworthy kick), 3:16.
Big - Sentz 14 run (Sentz kick), 10:45.
Big - Sentz 5 run (botched snap), 2:56.
Rushing — Big, Colton Sentz 30-171, Dayne Showers 11-59, Scott Cooper 10-46, Ben Hurda 6-5, TJ Weaver 2-25. Han, Justin Barnes 14-73, Jordan Laughman 11-70, Deandre Kerr 3-14, Kyle Krout 3-16, Resean Williams 1-9, Colton Ehrhart 2-(-1), Devon Bell 1-(-4).
Passing — Big, Hurda 2-6-1-15, Han, Krout 9-27-2-108.
Receiving — Big, Gage McAuliffe 1-2, Cooper 1-13. Han, Ehrhart 3-16, Nick Seymour 2-25, Luis Lara 2-49, Laughman 1-10, Williams 1-8.