Panthers face Hanson Memorial in break from district schedule
By: Staff Reports
Berwick has had Hanson’s number the last couple seasons, but it’s a new day in Franklin.
Hanson (4-2, 1-0 District 8-1A) has performed well this season and the Tigers would get some all-valuable power points with a win over the Class 3A Panthers (0-6, 0-3 District 9-3A) and on top of that it’s Homecoming.
But, both teams come into Friday’s game off losses.
Berwick lost, 42-0, at home to North Vermilion in district play. The Patriots took control early, holding the Panthers to three plays on their first possession and partially blocking Bryan Hernandez’s punt, which traveled only 8 yards. Seven plays later, NV was on the board with the first of their six touchdowns.
Berwick got some spark occasionally from sophomore running back Raheem Colar. Colar led the Panthers with 44 yards on five carries but he injured his knee late in the game.
“We lost our top tailback (Colar) for the year and we have several players out with injuries,” Berwick head coach Craig Brodie said. “We have a rash of injuries on the offensive line and on the defense. We had avoided injuries up to this point but they have caught up with us now.”
Berwick finished the game with 130 yards of total offense, with 104 yards coming on the ground.
Quarterback Reed Leonard was 5-of-18 passing for 18 yards in the loss.
Leonard has completed 24-of-86 for 252 yards with three scores and nine interceptions.
The top receivers for the Panthers are Josh Engleton with eight catches for 95 yards and Brad Lemoine has four catches for 108 yards and two scores.
“We are going to move our backups up and coach them up,” Brodie said. “Most of them have played but they have never started before.”
Hanson ran into a buzzsaw last week, losing to unbeaten Vermilion Catholic, 61-6.
Standout running back Jacoby Davis led a balanced VC attack with 206 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and quar-terback Aaron David spread the ball around as usual, throwing four TD passes to four different receivers. David ended the night 9-for-23 passing for 254 yards.
“We knew they were extremely explosive and we got handled in all three aspects of the game,” Hanson head coach Rich-ard Sandusky said. “Anytime you give up 60 points it’s hard to swallow, but the kids have practiced hard this week and that’s a credit to them.”
Hanson’s turnaround has been led by its senior class. Most of the Tigers 14 seniors have been playing and starting for several seasons.
“They’ve grown up,” Sandusky said. “They are a year older, stronger and more mature. They have played with pride, dis-cipline and character, they are tired of losing. So I expect them to play well this week, just like they did after the Delcam-bre loss earlier this season.”
The Tigers’ offense is led by quarterback Drake Rodriguez, who has completed 14-of-52 passes for 309 yards with three touchdowns and eight interceptions.
“Drake has done a great job of leading the team,” Sandusky said. “But we are going to do what we do best, and that’s run the football.”
Hanson has rushed for 1,244 yards so far this season. The Tigers have four rushers among the district’s leaders. Junior fullback Collin Broussard is the team’s leading rusher carrying 44 times for 436 yards and four touchdowns, while Kole Fluke has 300 yards on 62 carries and four scores. Beau Ancona has also carried 54 times for 216 yards and six TDs, and Rodriquez has chipped in 23 yards on the ground.
“I told the kids not to look at Berwick’s record,” Sandusky said. “They probably told their kids the same thing. They probably feel they can beat us because of our recent history and we’re a 1A school, so we will have to play our best.”
A win would put the Tigers closer to a long-awaited playoff berth.
“Our goal was to play for the district championship and that can still happen,” the third-year coach said. “But as coaches we have to look down the line and we know what this win can do for us and our other goals, a playoff berth and a home game.”
Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.