Panthers fall 59-21 in Victory Bell clash

Hanover College’s football squad lost to Franklin College 59-21 in the 57th-annual Battle for the Victory Bell at L.S. Ayres Field.

Senior quarterback Dexter Britt (Louisville, Ky.) threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another to lead the attack for Hanover, which caps its season 5-5 overall and 5-3 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Franklin scored 49 points in the first half and rolled to its ninth straight win in the series. The Grizzlies (7-3; 7-1 HCAC) share the conference title with the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, but earn the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA III playoffs with a head-to-head-victory against the Engineers Oct. 26.

The teams combined for nearly 1,000 offensive yards, with Hanover totaling 298 and Franklin amassing 672 yards, including 467 in the first half.

Franklin grabbed a 14-0 lead five minutes into the game. The Panthers countered midway through first quarter with a five-play, 75-yard scoring drive to cut the margin to 14-6.

Freshman receiver Ricky Windell (Camden, Ind.) went horizontal to snag a 25-yard scoring strike fromm Britt with 7:21 left in the frame.

The Grizzlies, however, answered with four consecutive touchdowns to stretch the advantage to 42-6 with 6:31 remaining in the half.

Hanover mounted a 12-play, 75-yard drive in the final minutes before intermission.

Junior running back Timothy Sutton (Hopewell, N.J.) capped the drive with a 12-yard touchdown reception. Britt followed with a dash into the endzone for a two-point conversion to keep the Panthers within 42-14.

With 43 seconds left in the half, Franklin mounted a 65-yard scoring drive which borrowed just 32 seconds from the clock. The touchdown, with 11 seconds left before intermission, nudged the Grizzlies ahead 49-14 at the break.

Hanover hit paydirt again in the third quarter. Britt raced 49 yards for a touchdown with 47 seconds to go in the period to trim the deficit to 49-21.

The Grizzlies answered with a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter and a 30-yard field goal with 2:13 left for the final tally.

Britt completed 20-of-39 passes for 197 yards. He tossed two touchdowns and had one interception. He also carried the ball 20 times for 89 yards with a touchdown.

Freshman receiver Layne Taylor (Sellersburg, Ind.) paced Hanover’s receiving corps with six catches for 82 yards.

Senior linebacker Brandon Foster (Haubstadt, Ind.) led Hanover’s defense with a career-high 17 tackles. Junior linebacker Vince Peiffer (Trafalgar, Ind.) added 14 stops.

Junior defensive back Jamal Edwards (Indianapolis, Ind.) intercepted his second pass of the season and returned the ball 34 yards to set up Hanover’s third-period touchdown.

Junior Josh Green (Beaumaris, Australia) averaged 39.8 yards per punt and had only one of six kicks returned.

Hanover vs. Franklin statistics