Football picked fifth in HCAC Preseason Poll

Layne Harnishfeger getting set on defense



GREENWOOD, Ind. – The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference has released its 2017 Preseason Football Coaches Poll with Hanover coming in at No. 5.

Year One under head coach Matt Theobald (’96) saw the Panthers improve their overall and conference win totals by two, progressing to 4-6 overall and 4-4 in HCAC play during the 2016 campaign.

After being picked seventh in each of the past two HCAC Preseason Polls, Hanover is back into the top five for the first time since 2014, when the team was predicted to finish third in the conference.

Franklin, who has earned at least a share of the past seven HCAC championships, took the top spot, recording 88 points and seven first place votes. The Panthers will host the Grizzlies during the 61st Annual Victory Bell Game at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 11.

Each garnering one first place vote, Rose-Hulman (80) and Bluffton (70) ranked second and third respectively. Rose-Hulman shared the 2016 conference crown with Franklin, but held the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Grizzlies to earn a berth into the NCAA National Playoff.

Mount St. Joseph tallied 62 points for fourth place, while Hanover’s 57 points were good enough for the fifth spot in the standings. The Panthers 4-4 record last fall was good enough for a tie for fourth place in the HCAC standings.

Rounding out the rest of the 2017 poll is Defiance (42), Manchester (37), Anderson (31) and Earlham (19). The Blue and Red bested each of the final four teams in the preseason poll last fall.

Over the last five seasons, Hanover has posted a 19-21 record in conference action. The Panthers will look to post their first winning season in HCAC play since 2013, when the team finished 5-3.

Hanover opens the regular season with a home contest against non-conference foe, Centre (Ky.) at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 2. The home opener will be Hanover Football Alumni Day, as well as “Celebrate Hanover” Day, which is an event co-hosted with the Town of Hanover and the Southwestern Jefferson County Schools, encouraging local area residents to come to campus.

The conference schedule opens up on the road at Rose-Hulman and the first chance to see the Panthers at home against a HCAC opponent will be Saturday, Sept. 23, against Anderson.


1Franklin88 (7)
2Rose-Hulman80 (1)
3Bluffton70 (1)
4Mount St. Joseph62

Contact: Tyler Jester

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