An early lead was short-lived as Hanover College’s football squad capped its 2012 campaign with a 58-29 loss to Franklin College in the 56th battle for the Victory Bell. The annual clash between rivals was played Saturday, Nov. 10, in Franklin, Ind.
Hanover jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the opening three minutes of action. Franklin, however, grabbed control of the game with touchdowns on six of its next seven possessions to build a 42-8 cushion and rolled to its eighth straight win in the series.
The Panthers close the season 6-4 overall and 6-2 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. Franklin, which nabbed the HCAC’s automatic berth in the NCAA III playoffs, raised its mark to 8-2 overall and 8-0 in the league.
The teams combined for more than 800 yards of offense, with Hanover generating 317 and the Grizzlies netting 504 yards. The Panthers amassed 283 yards through the air with another 34 on the ground, but also turned the ball over four times and committed nine penalties.
Junior quarterback Dexter Britt (Louisville, Ky.) completed 28-of-36 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns. He also tossed three interceptions and lost a fumble.
Senior wide receiver Daniel Passafiume (Louisville, Ky.) snagged seven receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns in his final collegiate appearance. He ends his career as the fifth-leading receiver in NCAA history (all-divisions) with 344 catches and also ranks as Hanover’s career leader with 3,485 receiving yards and 39 receiving touchdowns.
Sophomore running back Spencer Corrao (New Albany, Ind.) had a team-high nine receptions for 84 yards. He also rushed seven times for 25 yards.
Hanover needed just 1:36 to get on the scoreboard early in the first quarter. Britt ended a five-play drive with a four-yard touchdown pass to Passafiume and Corrao followed with a short plunge on the two-point conversion to give the Panthers an 8-0 lead.
Franklin scored less than two minutes later on a 14-yard pass from Jonny West to Luke Hamm to pull within 8-7.
The Grizzlies followed with three more touchdown passes from West, who also added a one-yard scoring run, and a 17-yard touchdown burst from Grant Welp to build a 42-8 cushion with 3:56 left in the first half.
Hanover used a 10-play, 74-yard scoring drive late in the half to end the Grizzlies’ run.
Senior wide receiver Jacob Noger (Lexington, Ky.) cradled a 17-yard scoring pass from Britt to shave the margin to 42-14 with 41 seconds left in the second quarter.
Franklin, however, added a 26-yard field goal from Cole Richards to take a 45-14 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
The rivals traded touchdowns in the third period and early in the fourth quarter.
Britt scored on an eight-yard scamper to cut the margin to 45-21 just four minutes into the second half.
Franklin, though, stretched the margin to 51-21 three minutes later with a one-yard lob from West to receiver Kyle Linville.
Hanover hit paydirt for the final time with 4:54 left in the stanza. Britt rolled to his right and lofted a 41-yard scoring pass to Passafiume, who dashed into the paint to cut the lead to 51-29.
The touchdown pushed Passafiume’s career scoring total to 257 points, which ranks behind only Brian Glesing’s 294 points from 1989-1992.
The Grizzlies added a six-yard touchdown run by Joey Pasquale in the opening minute of the fourth quarter for the final margin.
West finished the outing 29-of-43 for 315 yards and five touchdowns. Linville led the Grizzlies’ receiving corps with nine catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior linebacker Andy Dalton (Guilford, Ind.) and junior linebacker Justin Magaw (West Palm Beach, Fla.) each had 11 tackles to pace Hanover’s defensive effort.
Dalton, who had nine solo tackles in the game, finished with 423 career tackles to rank third among the Panthers’ all-time leaders.
Freshman lineman Jake Stillwell (Pendleton, Ind.) added three tackles, including two sacks and a tackles for loss.
Hanover leads the overall series 42-37-3 and owns a 35-21 lead in the Victory Bell series, which dates to 1938. Starting in 1994, the Panthers posted 11 consecutive wins in the rivalry, but have not taken possession of the Bell since 2004.
Published Saturday, November 10, 2012