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Hanover Nighthawks hope to add some balance to its pass-oriented offense in 2021

ROB ROSE
717-505-5418/@robrosesports
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  • The Hanover Nighthawks are coming off a 2-5 season in 2020.
  • The Nighthawks are led by three-year starter Chase Roberts at quarterback.
  • Roberts led York-Adams Division III in 2020 with 1,184 passing yards.

Editor's note: This is one in a series of previews for York-Adams League football teams.

For most quarterbacks playing in run-happy York-Adams League Division III, most of their duties during games revolve around handing the ball off to running backs.

That’s not the case for Hanover High School quarterback Chase Roberts though. The junior was fourth in the Y-A League in 2020 with 1,184 passing yards, by far the most in D-III.

Roberts has been the Nighthawks’ starting quarterback since his freshman year and is confident headed into the season with a talented wideout core led by junior Mason Smith, who had 329 receiving yards in 2020.

Despite the advantage Hanover has with its aerial attack, head coach Wil Rider’s goal is for the team to find a balance between throwing and running this season.

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To move up the standings, Hanover hopes to use its pass-oriented offense as an advantage against teams used to rushing attacks. Still, the Nighthawks want to find a way to become a more complete team as well.

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“If not many teams are spreading the field, obviously, they're going to have less time to prepare for that,” Rider said. “But at the same token, when we're looking at film as a coaching staff, and the players are looking at that, you don't have much to go on… Ultimately it doesn't matter what offense you're running, the big thing in this league is if you know you can't run the ball, you tend to be in trouble. So again, that's kind of where, even though we're spread (and) we spread the field, we do want to run the ball efficiently.”

Following is a capsule preview of the Nighthawks:

►Team: Hanover Nighthawks.

►Coach: Wil Rider, second season.

►2020 record: 2-5 in York-Adams League Division III.

►Key losses (Division III All-Stars in bold): TE/DE Beau Gebhart; RB/DB Miguel Melendez.

►Key returners (Division III All-Stars in bold): QB Chase Roberts; WR/DB Mason Smith

►2021 schedule (Division III games in bold): Aug. 27 at Susquehannock; Sept. 3 vs. Pequea Valley; Sept. 10 at Columbia; Sept. 17 at Bermudian Springs; Sept. 24 vs. York Tech; Oct. 1 vs. Fairfield; Oct. 8 at Littlestown; Oct. 15 vs. York Catholic; Oct. 22 at Biglerville; Oct. 29 vs. Delone Catholic.

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.