Football Preview: Defensive Linemen

Zach Dauer jumping off the line



HANOVER, Ind. – Our preseason preview of the Hanover football team continues today with a look at the defensive linemen.

In the weeks leading up to the season opener against Centre (Ky.), we will take an in-depth look at each position group, mainly focusing on the key returners. Check out the previous position releases below.

Hanover is coming off a 4-6 season in 2016, including a 4-4 mark in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play, its first conference winning percentage of .500 or better since 2013. The Panthers were recently picked by the conference coaches to finish fifth in the HCAC this season after tying for fourth in 2016.

The Panthers return a duo at the defensive end position that will look to cause havoc in the backfield again this fall. For their efforts last season, both senior Layne Harnishfeger (Batesville, Ind.) and junior Zach Dauer (Cincinnati, Ohio) were named to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference honorable mention team.

Harnishfeger is the leading returner in tackles for the Panthers, as he recorded 58 total and 31 solo stops last season. His 5.8 tackles per game were also good enough for a top 20 spot in the HCAC. The senior also led the team in forced fumbles a year ago with two, while also recovering one fumble.

Dauer is the leading returner in tackles for loss, as he recorded 11.0 stops in the backfield last fall. The incoming junior and Harnishfeger combined for 21 tackles for loss, as both ranked in the top 15 in the HCAC individually. Dauer also tallied 5.5 sacks in 2016, which was good enough for ninth in the conference.

After a few key losses, returning upperclassmen and newcomers will look to add depth to the defensive line. A pair of seniors return this fall in James Cochran (Elizabethtown, Ky.) and Antoine Baldon (Louisville, Ky.). Cochran posted 13 tackles in nine games last year, while Baldon added nine tackles in seven games.

Hanover and Centre will meet at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 2, for the season opener. The Panthers will also be hosting Football Alumni and Community Day during the first home game.

Preview No. 1: Running Backs and Wide Receivers

Preview No. 2: Defensive Backs

Preview No. 3: Offensive Linemen

Contact: Tyler Jester

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