Hanover moving forward without head football coach

Dante Green
York Dispatch

The Hanover football team plans to move forward without a head coach for the rest of the season.

The school parted ways with Wil Rider ahead of its season opener last Friday, and a slew of assistant coaches split coaching responsibilities during Hanover's 55-12 loss to Annville-Cleona. At practice this week, it's been more of the same.

Nighthawks assistants Zac Carrick, Bryant Descheemaeker, Steve Weaver and Jon Ross are coaching as a committee, with none holding an interim head coach title. Hanover athletic director Adam Mowrer said the school does not plan to officially open its head coaching position until after the season.

Hanover's coach, Will Rider at Media Day for the local high school football teams in York on August 2, 2022.

Mowrer and Rider both declined to comment on Rider's departure or indicate whether he resigned or was fired. He had coached the Nighthawks for the past two seasons but been at the school for seven years, serving as the team's defensive coordinator from 2015-19.

Hanover finished 2-5 during the 2020 season and 3-7 last year. The Nighthawks had gone 1-9 in 2019, the season before Rider was hired, and their last winning record was a 9-1 mark in 2015.

One of the issues Rider mentioned when he was hired back in 2019 was the decreased number of players on the Hanover roster in recent seasons. Before that season, he explained that the team’s coaches and players were struggling to entice the school’s other athletes to join the team.

The Nighthawks have eight returning starters, including four-year starting quarterback senior Chase Roberts this year. A York-Adams League Division III first-team all-star a season ago, Roberts threw for over 2,300 yards and 23 touchdowns. 

Other key returnees are receiver Joey Wilkinson and running back Jayden Stanfield, who had outstanding seasons for the team a season ago. Hanover's problem in 2021 was its defense, which allowed 27 points per game.

The Nighthawks' next two matchups are against Columbia and Pequea Valley before their Division III schedule begins.