DEFIANCE, Ohio – The Hanover Panthers won for only the second time this season and snapped DC's two-game win streak with a 30-27 victory over the Yellow Jackets at Justin F. Coressel Stadium on Saturday. The loss also snapped a four-game win streak by Defiance against the Panthers on the gridiron.
The Jackets racked up 315 total yards of offense and 15 first downs but struggled to convert just one-of-13 third downs and saw four costly turnovers turn the tide in favor of the visiting Panthers.
The first two miscues led directly to a pair of Hanover touchdowns, as Corry Stewart intercepted a Rick Powell pass on the first snap of the day and ran it in for a quick, 6-0, Hanover advantage.
The Jackets rallied with a pair of Alex Bonilla field goals and a Ricky Sherrer interception return for a score to grab a 13-6 lead with 8:45 to play in the half, only to see a fumbled punt return set up HC's second score of the game which knotted things at 13-13.
Hanover's C.J. Croft began to take over the game at that point and connected with Daniel Passafiume on a 66-yard pass for a touchdown, before finding an open Jeremy Cook for a three-yard strike and a 27-13 Panther lead with 4:54 left to play in the third quarter.
The 21-0 Hanover spurt was answered early in the final period, when Powell found a streaking Jon Carrabino for a 61-yard touchdown that brought DC back within seven points with 12:31 showing on the clock.
The Panther offense continued its charge however, and marched down the field on a 17-play, 62-yard drive that took 6:26 off the clock. A goal-line stand by Defiance forced HC to settle for a 16-yard field goal from Pavel Polochanin that pushed the spread to 30-20.
Defiance narrowed the gap to three points on its ensuing possession, rattling off 10 plays for 62 yards in just over two minutes. The scoring drive was capped with an eight yard touchdown pass from Powell to Nick Wiedenhoft to bring DC within 30-27 with 3:39 to play.
That would be the last time the Yellow Jackets would touch the ball however, as Hanover got an 11-yard scamper from Croft on third and six to earn a fresh set of downs and let the clock wind down.
Croft ended the day with 24 carries for 97 yards and added 177 yards and three touchdowns through the air to account for 274 of Hanover's 294 total yards of offense in the game.
Powell nearly matched that production by rushing for 84 yards and completing 10-of-15 passes for 128 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Carrabino was the primary target and led all DC receivers with five passes for 85 yards, including the 61-yard scoring strike.
Kyle Longsdorf anchored the defense yet again with 14 tackles and one forced fumble, while Austin Hedderly ended with 13 hits and a sack. Matt King and Josh Wade also cracked double figures in tackles with 12 and 11, Travis Guisinger registered DC's second sack of the day and Sherrer had the Jackets' lone interception of the afternoon.
Defiance (3-5, 2-3 HCAC) will head south on November 7 to take on the HCAC-leading Lions of Mount St. Joseph (8-0, 6-0 HCAC). Kick-off is slated for 1:30 pm.