Hanover College-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC)
Hanover Head Coach: Matthew Theobald
Centre College is coming off an impressive showing against St. Joe’s, another HCAC powerhouse. Now the Colonels brace for a visit from Hanover College.
Hanover has received quite a bit of preseason attention as a team. The Panthers were voted No. 18 in the Lindy’s Magazine Division III, preseason poll, and voted 33rd, preseason, in d3football.com's forecast.
Hanover should be a stern test. Now, while Hanover is coming off three consecutive HCAC crowns, including last year, the Mount Saint Joseph’s fans were a bit salty about that fact. I sat around some Lion super fans and it is their claim Hanover ducked them in ’20.
According to the fans I interacted with at our scrimmage, Hanover scrimmaged St. Joe’s in a simulated game format but would not “play” St. Joe’s in a regulation game. According to the Lion’s pride, they ran Hanover off the field that day, beating them by approximately three TDs.
Regardless, we will see a similar quality of football and fight out of Hanover as what St. Joe’s brought off its bus. Hanover has athletes and are accustomed to playing football at a championship level.
St. Joe’s was 6-1 in the ’20 spring season returning largely in-tact from a year ago. Hanover was 4-0, and conference champions last spring, also returning largely in-tact from a year ago.
Matthew Theobald has guided the Panthers to three consecutive HCAC titles and two NCAA Tournament berths. He recruits to Hanover College very well particularly in and around the “Derby City” which is one reason this game is of critical importance. Centre and Hanover recruit many of the same prospects and comb many of the same high schools for roster talent.
The Prime-timers/Players to monitor:
Hanover has some big-time skills to go along with outstanding play along both the offensive and defensive fronts. Talk of prime-time players on the Panthers’ roster has to begin with its offensive backfield.
No. 22, Shawn Coane, RB, 6-0, 190-pounds, Senior.
Coane has been selected preseason, 3rd-team All-American, by d3football.com. Coane has gained 3,163-career yards on the ground and scored 39-TDs in a Panther uniform.
Coane averages 6.1 yards per carry and 109.1 yards per contest. He is versatile out of the backfield, having 91-career receptions for 858-yards and 8-scores.
Coane has amassed 282-points in his 29-games played, averaging 9.7 points per game over his career. Coane entrers this season having amassed 4,157 career all-purpose yards, averaging 143.3 total-yards a game.
That is how you get All-American consideration. Coane is the school’s career all time leader in both rushing yards and points scored and holds the single season record with 19-rushing TDs. Coane is a three-time HCAC First Team selection and was the 2019 HCAC Offensive Player of the Year.
No. 34, Walt Ballinger, RB, 5-8, 165, Senior.
This player wore number 41 a year ago. Ballinger is a pivotal part of a 1-2 backfield punch for the Panthers. He has gained 1,443 yards rushing with 13-career TDs, catching 16-career passes swinging out of the backfield. He has accumulated 1,540 career total yards over his tenure.
No. 4, Kyle Treber, LB, 6-3, 215, Senior.
Treber is a defensive standout along the second-level for the Panthers who must not be allowed to just freely flow to the football for us to have offensive success. Treber has played in 22-games, registering 198-career tackles with 11 of those tackles coming behind the scrimmage line. Treber has picked off three (3)-passes while successfully defending seven (7). Treber has forced two fumbles and recovered one. He has great length and range.
No. 16, Jared Frank, WR, 6-5, 205, Senior.
Frank is a Kentucky product and played his prep football at Kentucky Country Day. He has registered 95-career receptions for 1,279 yards with 19 of those receptions being for TDs. Frank is an example of the importance of this game and this rivalry as Hanover battles Centre for prospects in and around the Derby City and its neighboring areas annually.
No. 5, Devonte Hardiman, DL, 5-10, 230, Sophomore.
Here’s a bit of a sleeper for you. Hardiman doesn’t have any career statistics for us to report to you because he was on the “Scout team” a year ago. Make no mistake, this guy is a low pad-level, twitchy monster who made practicing against the “Scout team” an adventure for the Panther regulars in the Spring of ‘20. We believe you will see this Princeton, Indiana native get in the lineup and be someone we have to contain and keep out of the offensive backfield for us to have offensive success this coming Saturday night. It won’t be easy.
Overall: This is a talented and sound, fundamental football team we are opening our season with in ’21. The Panthers are well-coached and will be a real challenge for the Gold and White.
The Panthers received way more preseason admiration than we from major, national pundits. That aside, this is a great game to come out and make a statement.
We have the opportunity to both get our feet wet and send a statement around the division and our conference that Centre is back to form. Judging from the two scrimmages I have seen, Centre looks poised to become a team which will have to be dealt with this coming Fall.