Colonel’s marching orders: Overcome Hanover College in the Season Opener!

First up for the Colonels...at tall order, Hanover College

Colonels would like to emerge 1-0 from Saturday’s game

Hanover College’s mascot is the “Panthers.” The Panthers compete at the NCAA Division 3 level as a member of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. They have suffered through two consecutive .500 seasons but that is not the program’s tradition in the HCAC as they aren’t too far removed from three consecutive HCAC conference titles. They will be a tough matchup and beating them is important as they routinely dip into Kentucky high schools for playing talent as this scouting report will firmly establish.

HB Lyon, Scouting Director, KPGFootball

Danville, KY: Before we get to the Panthers, we would like to say a little about the upcoming Colonel squad and what we saw of it in the scrimmage with Mount St. Joseph’s (hereafter just “Mount” or “The Mount”). We aren’t going to break down every position group but want to provide some of the highlights we saw at the scrimmage against “The Mount.”

Let’s start with the fact The Mount was 10-1 a year ago, won the Heartland (same conference as Hanover) in a cake walk, and returned every player of significance from off of last year’s team. In other words, we won’t see a team with more athletes than “The Mount” until we hit the “Berry College, Birmingham Southern, Trinity College” portion of our regular season schedule.

We scrimmaged The Mount in Cincinnati, OH a year ago and they absolutely killed us. They did not kill us Saturday. Matter of fact, we were even with them in the down and distance scrimmage (21 a piece) and more than held our own in the situational scrimmage. This bodes well for this year’s Colonel squad.

Carson, 6’6,” QB Kingsport

There is is a real battle waging at QB. Last year’s starter, Nick Osterman is 5th-yearing, and therefore back. Players have told KPGFootball that having Osterman out there is (intellectually) like letting Coach Fox suit up and play (Not a bad thing physically either as Fox is “fit as a fiddle” and a “baller”). Osterman is very smart, knows the system well, and capable.

Both Jack Gohmann and Luke “Skeeter” Hammons looked sharp. Gohmann is more the drop-back guy with the big arm who can move and create with his feet when that is required and Skeeter is more of the dual-threat, dimensional guy who throws a nice ball but can really break down defenses with his mobility, speed, athleticism, and agility.

I thought the freshman from Kingsport, Tennessee, Jake Carson, all 6’6,” 238-pounds of him, did some nice things. Carson made some upper-level throws in what the players called the “puppy scrimmage.”

Will McDaniel…is likely to rush for over a 1,000-yards this…season

Fletcher Long, Senior Sports Writer, KPGFootball

We don’t know who ultimately emerges from the QB-battle. We do know the offense was light-years ahead of where it was in this same scrimmage a year ago.

Will McDaniel

The RB situation is equally compelling. We believe the first-team guy is junior, Will McDaniel, and that he is likely to rush for over a 1,000-yards this upcoming season. McDaniel had an impressive string of 100-yard plus rushing performances a year ago.

K-Mart (Keeton Martin) continues to run hard especially for someone as diminutive as he. Martins runs very hard, particularly between the tackles which is a little surprising, and those of us who remember his days at South Oldham can’t profess being very startled by anything he does.

Gabe Walker and Zach Shofner both have tremendous ability and very good size for the position. The RB room is impressive, watch out for Paintsville’s Harris Phelps. The 5’11,” 180-pound freshman proved himself to be one of the KHSAA’s very best in his time toiling there.

Christian Billiter and Scotty Brown lead a WR corp which is fast, lengthy, and accomplished…

Fletcher Long

Christian Billiter and Scotty Brown lead a WR corp which is fast, lengthy, and accomplished. Tate Johnson, a freshman from Frederick Douglass, has been “eye-popping” both in practice and in the scrimmage. Johnson is a 6’1,” 190-pounder you definitely want to monitor.

Will Long

Drew Finch, Will Long, and Ethan Mayes bring different skills to the “YJ” post.

Long (Jr.), a guy who played along the defensive front his first two seasons, is very physical in the Jumbo run sets. Finch and Mayes are potent down-field, middle-seam, targets in the passing game who are appropriately framed out like “traditional” TE’s.

We talked with head coach Andy Frye about Long’s move to offense. He told us, “Will Long brings an attitude and aggressiveness the YJ’s badly needed. We are thrilled, so far, and believe Long will grow into this new role as he gains experience.”

Will Long brings an attitude and aggressiveness the YJ’s badly needed

Andy Frye, HFC, Centre College

Defensively, the Colonels look to have a fine second level. Evan Elder, Ethan Humphries, and Duerell Bard give the LB’ing corp quite a bit of “big-hit,” run supporting heft while still exhibiting the speed and agility to cover the second level passing routes.

Evan Elder

Elder, at 205-pounds, is the smallest of the three. Humphries and Bard are both in the 227-235-pound range. All three of them are from 5’11,” to 6’0.”

We are hearing Will Delorimier is a “hot-shot, hit machine” out of Bolinas, CA. His vehicle gave out on the side of the road this summer and he jogged 17-miles to his destination because, as he told KPGFootball, “It was a nice day for a jog.” Delorimier is threatening to get significant time in the hybrid safety/OLB role many defenses refer to as its “Bandit.”

Let’s turn our attention to Hanover College. Hanover went 5-5 overall in ’22 and 5-2 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. The HCAC champions a year ago was The Mount. The Mount was 7-0 in the league and 10-1 overall. 

We beat Hanover in ’22 in Indiana 31-29. This was the bi-furcated game where one half was played on Saturday with the other half played the following day.

Hanover had 430-yards of total offense against us in 77-plays for 5.6-yards per play. They passed for 292 and rushed for 138. 

QB Matthew Weimer was 25 for 38 for 292 and 3-TD’s but yielded 4-picks. Wiemer has graduated and left a huge hole to be filled. Kolton Richards is a 6’2,” senior from Kissimmee, FL and his is as compelling a résumé to fill that slot as anyone’s.

McAdoo

Austin Oppel (Jr.), from Meade County High, has really come on for Hanover and figures to be the program’s feature RB. LaJuan McAdoo is a freshman RB from Madisonville (KY) who had fantastic numbers in high school so look for him to get some serious attention as his career in college commences.

Hunter Eads returns for his senior year and he had over a 100-yards receiving against us a year ago. Louisville’s VJ Anthony caught three balls for 81-yards in last year’s game and then transferred to Morehead at season’s end. We’re glad to see him move along.

Both kickers graduated from off last season’s roster and that can be quite dispositive. Look out for Pedro Paixao, a Jr. from Serra, Brazil, as he has a strong soccer background and will be likely to pick up the reins of the departed specialists.

Joseph Grubb is a freshman and had a fine prep career in Sevierville, Tennessee at Sevier County. He too is a candidate to get in the mix in the important “third phase” of football.

Hanover’s top defenders, Brody Luker (Sr.), Justin Williamson (Sr.), and Jason Fanning (Sr.) will provide the stopping power on that side of the ball this season like last. Sherman Davis (DL, Jr.) provides the most credible pass rushing threat among the front seven, particularly along the defensive front four or five, depending on how they align.

Overall, this Hanover squad is a solid HCAC opponent. That being said, with the offensive improvements above noted, we believe Centre College should win this game by 10-14-points.

Getting this win is key. We will hit the road consecutively to Maryville and Rhodes the following two weeks.

For those who want to pencil those two into the “win” column, we would gently remind you Maryville has one of the better QB’s we saw last year and he was a freshman then. Rhodes beat the Hell out of Birmingham Southern to close the ’22 season in what had to have been the upset of the year in-conference.

This is Fletcher W. Long, reporting for KPGFootball, reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE! We will see you Saturday.

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About Fletcher Long 1423 Articles
Two-time winner of Kentucky Press Association awards for excellence in writing and reporting news stories while Managing Editor of the Jackson (KY) Times-Voice

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