COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: Recruiting players to pump up roster was job No. 1 at Hanover
- The Hanover High football program is coming off a 3-7 season in 2018.
- Hanover players tried to recruit other students to play football in the offseason.
- The Nighthawks will likely start a freshman or a sophomore at quarterback.
Editor's note: This is one in a continuing series of team previews for the 2019 York-Adams League football season:
Before he could focus on what plays his team will run this season, Hanover coach Brandon Bishop’s sights were set on having enough players on the roster.
After he lost a core group of seniors to graduation, including York-Adams League Division III All-Stars Josh Postell, Hunter Laugerman and Sam Duvall, Bishop knew he needed to make recruiting a major part of the offseason.
“For us, it’s trying to get numbers up and trying to make the most of every day that we have together so we’re more prepared when the season starts,” Bishop said.
To do so, Bishop enlisted his returning players to find athletes interested in joining the team. Rising senior Andre Caban said he went after bigger kids to help build their group of linemen, but would talk to anyone interested in playing.
“We just walked around the school and basically said, ‘You want to play football?’” Caban said. “(If they said yes) tell them when, if they said no, (he) just kept moving.”
Bishop wasn’t picky either when players asked to join the team and said that some of the athletes had a background in football, which helped the transition, but that the sport allows people with athleticism to play a role somewhere.
“We’re a small school so we will take anybody,” Bishop said. “Football is a unique sport that, if you are athletic, we can find a way to incorporate you into the team and find something you are good at.”
In addition to the losses of the three heralded seniors, the Nighthawks also graduated quarterback Jeff Jacoby. This season, rising sophomore Casey Lara and freshman Chase Roberts will compete for the starting quarterback job and Bishop, Hanover’s offensive coordinator before becoming head coach in 2018, likes what he has seen from the pair.
“They’re as talented as any freshman, sophomore quarterbacks I have ever been around,” Bishop said. “The challenge is, they’re a freshman and sophomore. Sometimes you have to take your lumps a little bit to get up to speed with the varsity game. I think they’re just going to get better every day.”
With a number of new players and younger athletes taking on larger roles, Bishop’s goal with the offseason is to get the players mentally prepared to perform when the season starts. While Bishop said he wished they had more time to prepare, he was confident in the group’s abilities.
“We want to get these guys as many possible scenarios in practice, so by the time we get to the games, it’s not this foreign, brand new thing,” Bishop said. “We want to put them in these situations on Monday through Thursday, so that by Friday night, with all the lights, all the fans and other color jerseys on the other side, they don’t need to deal with a brand new situation on top of that.”
Following is a capsule preview of the 2019 Hanover season.
►Team: Hanover Nighthawks.
►Coach: Brandon Bishop, second season.
►2018 record: 3-7 overall, 3-4 York-Adams Division III.
►Key losses (Division III All-Stars in bold): Josh Postell, wide receiver/safety; Hunter Laugerman, lineman; Sam Duvall, wide receiver/defensive end; Fabian Lara, wide receiver/cornerback; Jeff Jacoby, quarterback; Mike Minetos, wide receiver/cornerback.
►Key returners (Division III All-Stars in bold): Miguel Melendez, junior, running back/cornerback; Andre Caban, senior, wide receiver/safety; Aaron Eisenhart, senior, lineman; Ben Newman, senior, lineman.
►2019 schedule (Division III games in bold): Aug. 23 at Susquehannock (7 p.m.); Aug. 30 vs. Eastern York (7 p.m.); Sept. 6 at Greencastle-Antrim (7 p.m.); Sept. 13 at Bermudian Springs (7 p.m.); Sept. 20 vs. York Tech (7 p.m.); Sept. 27 vs. Fairfield (7 p.m.); Oct. 4 at Littlestown (7 p.m.); Oct. 11 vs. York Catholic (7 p.m.); Oct. 18 at Biglerville (7 p.m.); Oct. 25 vs. Delone Catholic (7 p.m.)
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.