|Hanover took down two-time defending state champion Holliston to advance to the D3 State Semifinal|
By Nate Rollins (@n_rollins1)
HANOVER, Mass. -- The top-seeded Hanover Indians toppled the No. 2 Holliston Panthers, 40-7, to claim the Division 3 South title at Harry Gerrish Memorial Field Friday evening.
With the win, Hanover advances to the Division 3 state semifinals to face Triton (8-2) next Saturday, Nov. 19, at 2:30 p.m at Brockton's Marciano Stadium.
On their way to a second consecutive Division 4 state championship, the Panthers ended Hanover's playoff run with a 21-0 victory one year ago. So revenge was on the Indians minds heading into this rematch.
“Since the last second ticked off last year, we've been waiting for this and finally the time came and the kids were ready," said Hanover head coach Chris Landolfi. Indians senior quarterback Wyatt Shisler and running back Brad Rogers combined for over 350 yards of offense and six touchdowns in the victory.
"They're extremely good,” Landolfi said about his star tandem. “It's tough defensively when you have to account for both guys. You can't really keep everyone in the box to stop the run because you have a guy like Wyatt who can get outside and run and make people miss. Defensively it presents a lot of problems."
After coming up empty on its first drive, Hanover (9-0) found the end zone on its next three drives. Holliston (8-2) drove the ball down to Hanover’s 7-yard line, chewing up over five minutes off the clock, but the Indians jarred the ball free to force a fumble and deny the Panthers an early score.
Then Shisler engineered a 93-yard drive, which was capped by a Rogers 1-yard touchdown run as Hanover drew first blood.
"We had a pretty good feeling that we might be able to move the ball on them the next time around," Landolfi said of what changed after the first drive offensively. "We have Wyatt, we have Brad, and we have an offensive line that has been pretty impressive."
After forcing a Panthers punt, the Indians waisted little time and on their first play, Rogers ran the ball 61 yards for a TD. Chris Greene's successful extra point made it 14-0 with 8:05 remaining in the second.
On Holliston's ensuing drive, the Panthers were stuffed by a stout Hanover defense, as the Indians forced a turnover on downs.
A few plays thereafter, Rogers powered his way into the end zone with a 5-yard TD, pushing the lead to 20-0 at the half. Andrew Carroll's 28-yard flea flicker to Matthew Lanagan keyed the drive.
On Hanover's first drive of the third, Shisler dumped a pass to Trevor Blaisdell in the flat that he took 72-yards for a score and Hanover was firmly in control up 27-0.
Rogers bulldozed his way for another score to open the fourth and Shisler capped off the Hanover scoring with a 20-yard scamper for six.
The Panthers sole touchdown came with 18 seconds remaining via the legs of quarterback Jack Barrett.
By leaning on an excellent offensive line and a stout defensive front, the Indians were able to exact their revenge and put an end to the Panthers’ dynasty.