Annville-Cleona started the season on a high note, racing past Hanover 52-19.
The Little Dutchmen offense churned out 474 yards rushing, battering the Nighthawk defense.
A/C Head Coach Matt Gingrich said Hanover had size, but his team executed from the start.
“I was a little concerned when I saw them come in because they’re physically impressive, a lot of really good athletes, big kids,” said Gingrich. “We did a great job at the beginning asserting our game plan.”
On the opening drive, A/C junior running back Bryce Keller powered his way into the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown to start the scoring 7-0. Next possession, quarterback Cameron Connelly ran 10 yards for a touchdown, jumping out to a 14-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff Hanover would fumble away the ball, which was recovered by A/C senior Cash Watson on the Nighthawks 36 yard line. Less than a minute off the clock, Harter would take it in for a 9-yard score pushing the lead to 20-0 at the end of the first quarter.
While the rushing attack was firing on all cylinders, A/C was limited through the air completing just one pass.
“We got to complete some passes,” said Gingrich. “We had open passes and we dropped a couple passes that we were wide open and we didn’t run good routes on a couple of them.”
In the second quarter, the offensive line continued to open up huge holes. Junior Jonathon Shay scored on an 8-yard run. On the next drive A/C would add another touchdown this time on a 1-yard QB sneak by Connelly increasing the score to 33-0.
Hanover would fight back late in the second quarter as Joey Wilkinson would haul in a 23-yard touchdown pass from Gavin Trish. The Nighthawks would strike again through the air as Trish would connect with Sage Hartlaub for a 35-yard touchdown bringing the score to 33-12.
“Our defensive lapses, we had some defensive back coverage errors that haunted us in our Trinity game last year and it’s carried over,” said Gingrich.
Less than a minute left before halftime A/C would march down the field. With a few seconds left, Harter took the handoff and shook off tacklers, darting 35 yards to paydirt as the horn sounded, giving A/C a commanding 40-12 lead at the half.
The Nighthawks would open the second half with another quick strike through the air as Trish would find Wilkinson for a 14-yard TD catch.
A/C compiled 26 first downs in the contest. Shay would add a 19-yard TD as his teammate Harter would score his third touchdown of the night this time on a 15-yard interception return to finish the scoring.
A/C ran 73 plays for 483 total yards.
Next week, Annville-Cleona will travel to face longtime rival ELCO.
Coach Gingrich said that, due to ELCO moving up into a different division, this could be the last time A/C and ELCO play against each other, which he’ll miss.
“I always played ELCO, my childhood was against ELCO and I’m going to hate missing that rivalry.”
Annville-Cleona will face ELCO Thursday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m. in Myerstown.
Head Coach: Matt Gingrich
Assistant Coaches: Joe Heckard, Greg Keener, Joe Shay, Jon Bopp, Drew Speraw, Cody Dodson, Jonathan Lum, Mike Miller
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