Saturday, September 16, 2017

Hanover Triumphs in Battle of Defending Champs

By Tom Joyce (@TomJoyceSports)

HANOVER, Mass. - The Hanover Indians stuck to their assignments and because of that, they were able to shut down a fellow defending state champions’ read-option attack.

On Friday night, the defending Division 3 state champs managed to stymie the East Bridgewater Vikings ground game and come away with a 28-8 win at home over the 2016 Division 3A state champs.

“It was definitely a good win bouncing back after a loss,” Indians quarterback and defensive back Andrew Carroll said. “We played as a team. Offense, defense, special teams. It was a complete win today.”

On the first play of the game, the Vikings fumbled after a completed pass, giving the Indians possession 36 yards out from the end zone and on their first offensive play, Carroll (3-for-6 passing for 121 yards) threw a touchdown pass to Jack Delahunt.

As the quarter progressed, the Vikings were able to gain some ground offensively. They got to Hanover’s 15 yard line before their drive started to unravel. Defensive end Pat Damon had a tackle for a loss on second down as the Vikings tried to run a read option and on the next play, Luke Sweeney disrupted a speed option run to bring up third and long. An illegal substitution set the Vikings back further and since they were not able to complete their screen pass, they ended up giving the ball back to the Indians.

“It’s all assignment football,” Indians head coach Chris Landolfi said of stopping EB’s option run plays. “Everyone has a responsibility and they all did what they were supposed to tonight.”

With 1:20 remaining in the first quarter, the Indians took an 8-0 lead as the Vikings snapped a ball through the end zone. On their next possession, the Indians capitalized on the safety. 

Driving downfield, the Indians took a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter on a 6-yard run from Liam Flynn (16 carries, 61 yards).

Once again, the Indians asserted their dominance on defense as Damon came up with a sack on 4th and 12 which resulted in a turnover on downs with 4:45 remaining in the first half. Yet again, Hanover capitalized.

Chris Greene caught a 45-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the drive from Greene and with a successful PAT attempt, the Indians went up 21-0 with 3:46 remaining in the first half. 

The Vikings had another scoring chance late in the first half, but they turned the ball over on downs with eight seconds remaining.

In the second half, the Indians opted to go to their ground game more in order to end the game quicker. In fact, the tribe did not have an offensive touchdown in the second half. Their lone score came on a 38-yard pick six from Carroll and with a good PAT try, they went up 28-0 with 6:04 remaining in the game.

The Vikings were able to avoid the shutout, however. Quarterback Liam LeVangie (11 of 22 passing, 165 yards), whose father Dana is the Boston Red Sox bullpen coach, connected with Anthony Fabrizio on a 55-yard touchdown pass with 5:36 remaining. They also converted on the 2-point try; Nicholas McDermott ran an end around in to make it a 28-8 ballgame. 

When the Indians got the ball once again, they ran the clock out, and their coach was pleased with the way his young team performed. 

“Our 18 first year starters played like two-year veterans today,” Landolfi said, “and that was the difference for us.”

In addition to Damon, fellow sophomore defensive end James Byrne played a crucial role in stopping the Vikings option offense. 

Cade Frucci and Will Collett propelled the Indians’ offensive line as the team amassed 145 rushing yards.

The Indians move on to face Plymouth South next Friday.

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