HANOVER TWP.—The officiating was controversial at times on Friday night at Gayewski Memorial Stadium, but it did not stop Hanover Area from grabbing a 30-7 win over Greater Nanticoke Area and increasing its record to 5-5. The two teams combined for 24 penalties for 200 yards, with some questionable calls late in the third quarter.
Hanover is in the District 2 Class 2A playoffs, which begin next weekend, based on unofficial state point totals.
Hanover was called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at the Nanticoke 2-yard line that pushed them back to the 17-yard line with 2:49 left in the third quarter. Then Nanticoke (3-7) was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the next play, but the ball was still spotted on the 17-yard line, with second-and-goal for the Hawkeyes.
After Trojan running back Josh Mitkowski was seemingly thrown out of the game, the two teams met with the officials on their respective sidelines to get things under control. Mitkowski came back onto the field, and Hanover attempted a 42-yard field goal on fourth-and-goal from the 25-yard line. The kick was well short, so Mitkowski returned it from inside his own 5-yard line. Even though Mitkowski was clearly not in the end zone when he caught the ball, the officials stopped the play after he was about to break away from the defense for a long touchdown run.
Hawkeye fullback Tim Malloy ran for a 15-yard gain on the last play of the third quarter to get his offense to the Nanticoke 8-yard line. The only problem was that the game clock ran out just before the ball was snapped, and the play stood anyway.
“I thought the officials did a good job,” said Hanover Area head coach Ron Hummer. “It gets heated out there. This is a rivalry game and we try to keep the game under control.”
Hanover took control right from the start with an 11-yard touchdown run by halfback Kyle Casey. The extra point was blocked and the lead was 6-0. Casey ran 18 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Malloy added 11 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown with 10:31 to go in the fourth quarter that gave his team a 30-0 lead.
“Casey and Malloy are both seniors and they both ran hard tonight,” said Hummer. “You have to give them credit.”
Hanover quarterback Eric Popovich threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris Kubaugh in the second quarter, and Matt Gurnari later added a 29-yard field goal with under a minute to play in the first half that put his team ahead 17-0.
Trojans halfback Walt Mieczkowski scored on a 70-yard sprint to the end zone with 6:19 left in the game. Backup quarterback Tim Bevan converted the point-after to make the final score 30-7.