November/December 2017 Preview

Santa Bowl VI is nearly upon us, ladies and gentlemen! With 16 days to go until the Hanover Rhinos’ charity matchup with the Pennsylvania Pharaohs, its time to take a look at our featured stories for the final two months of the calendar year.

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Rhino Bites

Our third edition of Rhino Bites features one of the most versatile new members of the 2018 Rhinos. He brings a rare semi-pro veteran presence to Snacktown’s warriors after stints with several teams, including the Baltimore Giants, where he teamed with 2017 Rhinos’ defensive MVP David Harden.

TRAVIS RAWL

rawl

Age: 22                                 Hometown: Jarrettsville, Md             Class: North Hartford ’13               Positions: S/WR/K

#1. Tell our readers about your football playing background.

TR: I started off with 6 years of rec football. Wanted to focus on other things in high school, so I didn’t play. After high school, I played 2 years semi-pro in Baltimore. I’ve played a couple of positions including safety, wide receiver, and kicker.

#2. What teams did you play for in Baltimore?

TR: The Baltimore Giants (NEAFL) and Harco Pirates (XEFL).

#3. What drew you to football and continues to make you love the game?

TR: I grew up watching my older brother play, and watching on TV. Like any other kid, I had a dream to play football and go as far as I could go with it. For some reason, I can’t get away from the game though. Something brings me back every time. Maybe it’s just the thrill of the game itself.

#4. What’s the most exciting thing you’ve been a part of on a football field?

TR: Kicking the game-winning field goal (for the Pirates) in one of my first semi-pro football games.

#5. Tell me about the play.

TR: Fourth-&-3 on the 30 yard line. Less than a minute on the clock. Snap was a little high, but holder brought it down and the kick was in.
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 Don’t forget fans, that the 2018 Hanover Rhinos take the field for the first time in Santa Bowl VI on December 2nd, at 1 PM at Manheim Adventure Park. Admission is 1 new unwrapped toy or $5 donation to Toys for Tots.

Rhino Bites

Today’s version of Rhino Bites features a new member of the Rhinos who is very proud to call Hanover his hometown. Without further ado, here is Snacktown’s own…

DILLON LAUGHMAN

laughman

                      Age: 21                           Hometown: Hanover, Pa                         Class: South Western ’14                    Positions: WR/CB/S/RB

#1. What does it mean to wear the logo of your hometown semi pro team?

DL: It means a lot to me. I wouldn’t want to play for any other team. I’m with my friends and family, in my eyes, and get to play the sport that I love the most for the town and people I love the most.

#2. Growing up here in Hanover, tell us what makes this town special?

DL: The connection between people- we are all neighbors. We all have big hearts, care for one another. It’s a town known for sports and great coaches. I’m proud to say I’m from here.

#3. Finish this sentence. You know someone is from Hanover when ______.

DL: They talk about playing sports or watching sports. I.e. Penn State or their high school football team going to districts or states.

#4. Did you ever become a Penn State fan?

DL: I’m a Penn State fan, but not as much as I am a Steelers fan. I grew up watching Penn State and the Steelers with family, so to me, I was born into the PA sports.

#5. What’s it going to be like to step out on the field with the Rhinos’ logo on your helmet for the first time in the Santa Bowl (December 2nd)?

DL: It’s going to be wonderful. I am achieving a goal of mine. It’s a feeling that can’t be explained. I just always knew my place is on a football field, and to play with my friends and for my town makes it so much better. It’s so surreal, will have a better time describing it after that first game.

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Don’t forget fans, that the 2018 Hanover Rhinos take the field for the first time in Santa Bowl VI on December 2nd, at 1 PM at Manheim Adventure Park. Admission is 1 new unwrapped toy or $5 donation to Toys for Tots.

Knighted!

From Squire To Co-Owner Of The Hanover Rhinos, It’s Been Quite A Ride For Noah Sneeringer

noahWith the retirement of Hanover Rhinos’ co-owner Adam Bostian following the spring 2017 season, big shoes were left to fill in Snacktown’s front office this offseason.

The position didn’t take long to fill.

In the moments following the Rhinos’ season ending 43-18 loss to the Franklin County Tigers, Bostian sat down with head coach Noah Sneeringer under a tent on the Hanover sideline, and handed him the keys to the kingdom.

Recently, Rhino Charge host George Marinos caught up with Sneeringer to discuss life as a head coach/owner/head of football operations, and what it took to get him to where he is today.

GM: I’m here with Noah Sneeringer, new co-owner of the Hanover Rhinos, and still head coach as well. Talk about your meteoric rise from Delone Catholic Squire to the leader of the Charge in 8 short years?

NS: I’m definitely grateful to be in this situation. Opportunities like this don’t come around often. I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by many supportive people in my life. From playing to coaching and now owning. I’ve learned a lot in a short amount of time. And I’m excited to continue to learn and develop in the sports industry.

GM: How do your first few months of ownership compare to your time as a player and a coach?

NS: To be honest, I haven’t really dove into the ownership role yet in a hands-on aspect. Chris Bunty handles a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff and is the main reason the Hanover Rhinos are where we’re at as an organization. He involves me in everything he’s been doing, so I’m kind of easing into it. Once we get closer to the season, my role will certainly increase.

GM: What has Chris meant to this process for you?

NS: Chris has been a huge mentor. I’ve asked him many questions about what goes on behind the scenes and what he deals with. Chris is constantly working on sponsorships and fundraising to keep this organization flowing smoothly. The Rhinos wouldn’t be around without his dedication and hard work. I really look forward to learning and working with Chris.

GM: What responsibilities are you going to have as a co-owner?

NS: Attending league meetings and being a part of league votes is one thing. Which I got to be apart of the first league meeting for the 2018 season. I’ll be talking care of the football side of the operation mainly. I’ll also be helping Chris on the business side as much as I can.

GM: Give our readers a little insight into what the league meetings are like.

NS: I was honestly caught a little off-guard. I expected some tension when you put a bunch of competitive owners in a room together, but it was the complete opposite. We all have a common goal, and that’s to run a successful league and help each other out. The AFA has a great group of owners and some great guys to build a relationship with.

GM: Are there finger sandwiches and cookies at these meetings?

NS: Unfortunately not. (Chuckles). They did have coffee and water for us though.

GM: How is semi-pro different than your experience with Delone Catholic high school, or even college?

NS: There are many differences between the three levels. In high school, you have a set schedule, practice and class-wise. It allows you to get into a routine. College you have meetings, lifting, and your class schedule varies on top of more travel. You have to find what works for you personally. At the semi-pro level, the preparation time is limited. You’re squeezing 5 practices into one or two, if you’re lucky. Film and information on opposing teams are difficult to come by. On top of all of that, we all have family, work and other obligations we’re working around. At the end of the day, no matter what level it is, the game itself doesn’t change and that’s the best part.

GM: In semi-pro football, you have 60 roster spots to fill. What word or words best describe what you go through to fill out the roster?

NS: Don’t believe it until I see it. We’d be making cuts if all the guys came out that said they were. That’s a big tribute to the guys on our roster now. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

GM: What’s the most challenging part about getting 60 players for a small-town team?

NS: To fill the roster with just local guys is very tough, especially from a small area. We have built a strong name for ourselves and we’re bringing a lot of guys from outside our area in. We have guys traveling an hour-and-a-half to practice. That’s dedication and that reflects what previous and current owners have done to give our organization such a great reputation in semi-pro football.

GM: Adam Bostian was well-known as the face of the Rhinos to many players in the mid-Atlantic region. What is your message to potential Rhinos who see that Adam is no longer a part of the team?

NS: Adam has left behind a great legacy as a player, coach and owner. He’s well respected around the league. I personally need to pick up where he left off. The guys understand why he stepped away, and know they also need to continue the legacy he created while being apart of the Rhinos. I’m sure Adam will make a sighting or two in the upcoming season.

GM: Be honest. When you were at Kutztown University, did you ever imagine you’d be co-owner of a well-established semi-pro football team?

NS: Absolutely not. I was unaware of how large the semi-pro universe was. My goal in life was always to coach college ball and that still remains my goal. Gaining this experience at such a young age is very beneficial in many ways as I continue to grow in the sports industry.

GM: What’s your college dream job?

NS: Being a lifetime Notre Dame fan, that would obviously be my first choice. The list of great coaches that university has seen is unbelievable, but then, another part of me has always wanted to create my own legacy at a North Texas or a Florida International, schools that have a great talent pool to pick from in-state, and build a powerhouse instead of inherit one.

GM: What’s the most random team you’ve started an NCAA video game franchise with?

NS: I was a sucker for the Idaho Vandals. They rock the black and gold. I loved getting the Kibbie Dome on the toughest places to play list.

GM: Ever win a national title with them?

NS: Of course. On Heisman difficulty, too. There was an achievement to win three national championships in a row.

GM: When you were at Kutztown, did you take any sports management classes, or anything else that prepared you for your role?

NS: Yeah. I majored in sport management with a focus in coaching and athletic administration. So I took many classes that have definitely helped me in my role. But nothing prepares you like the real thing.

GM: Let’s talk about life off the field a little bit. Over the past few years, you’ve had to travel out of state frequently for your other job. How hectic has your schedule been?

NS: It’s been crazy. I’m all over for work, Baltimore one day, DC the next, New Jersey for a few days. Trying to keep in touch with guys and keeping up on the latest offensive and defensive trends is tough. It’s not easy to balance work, family and coaching. It takes self-discipline to be able find time for each one.

GM: Speaking of family, you got married this summer. That’s definitely a big moment in anyone’s life.

NS: Absolutely, it was definitely a day to remember. We had a small ceremony at my parents’ farm. Neither of us needed the big, fancy wedding. We kept it small, family and close friends.

GM: And then, since it was gameday for the Rhinos in Baltimore, you tuned in to Rhino Charge TV to hear yours truly on the call at 7 that night, correct?

NS: I did check into the game periodically. I unfortunately couldn’t watch from start to finish.

GM: How has you guys’ life changed since exchanging vows this summer?

NS: Honestly, nothing has changed too much. We bought our house last year, so we were already living together for awhile. I’d say the biggest change since the wedding would be getting our third dog.

GM: Tell me about your dogs.

NS: My wife is an absolute dog-lover. We’ve rescued all three of our dogs. We have two coonhounds and one mix between a coon and shepherd. They’re basically sub-in children for us.

GM: If you have kids some day, do you envision them being involved with the Rhinos?

NS: I can’t predict the future. I’d hope if I have a son, he pursues sports, and if I’m still in the area, I’d love for him to be a part of the organization.

GM: What’s been the highlight of your time as a Rhinos’ coach so far?

NS: I don’t know if I can really pinpoint a specific highlight. It’s been kind of a roller-coaster ride up to this point. I’m enjoying the process. My first year, we had multiple coaching changes. We could never find a rhythm, and last year, we had a lot of personnel changes and never truly found our mojo. We’ve ridden the ups and downs. It’s more like a movie instead of a highlight-reel.

GM: How about that first year, when the 15-20 guys that remained with the team through the end of the year snapped the 7-game losing streak, and all the young guys kept grabbing whatever coolers they could find and dumping them on you to celebrate the win?

NS: That was probably the best moment with the team. But like you said, it was after a losing streak, it wasn’t like we won the division or championship. But those 15-20 guys were the heartbeat of the team. Those are the guys that bought into the system, those guys are the ones you can turn to when adversity hits.

GM: As co-owner, you’ve gotten to see the behind-the-scenes stuff Chris Bunty does to promote the team and get the Rhinos involved in the community. What would you like to do to get the word out in the community that we have a football team in our town?

NS: That’s a great question. We live in a football area, so it’d be great to get more of the community out to our games. We’ve done a great job promoting through social media. I’d love to get back into the local newspaper (you might know a guy). I think the Rhinos are like any sports team. Winning is the best way to get the word out.

GM: What excites you most about the promotional and community-active process?

NS: Our Rhino Charge is probably my favorite promotional item. Getting our guys some spotlight. We have great athletes on our team. A lot were former high school stars. So to be able to get them recognized for their success on the field in semi-pro is awesome.

GM: Well, we at Rhino Charge appreciate that sentiment. As we wrap this up, do you have any words of advice for kids growing up that want to get into sports management?

NS: Don’t be afraid to go after your goals. Don’t let anyone tell you going to school for sport management is a waste. If you truly have a passion for sports, that’s the field you want to be in. There’s opportunities all over the country. It’s a growing industry for sure.

GM: Thanks for your time.

Remember fans, you can catch a new feature interview every month on Rhino Charge. Don’t forget to check back often to keep up to date on all the news and notes for Hanover’s hometown team. 
 

Rhino Bites

Back for 2017-18 is a fan-favorite feature from 2016-17! Rhino Bites articles will run throughout the fall and winter, right up until the regular season, offering an inside look at new members of the Hanover Rhinos.

RAYDEL RAGLAND

D

Age: 20           Hometown:      Baltimore, Md    Class: Catonsville ’14 Positions: Slot WR/KR/RB

#1. Tell me how you heard about the Rhinos, and what made you want to join the team?

RR: My uncle had told me about it, and said that they were one of the best in PA, and that automatically made me want to play for the Rhinos.

#2. What football playing experience do you have?

RR: I played recreational, high school and 2 years of semi-pro.

#3. Who was your semi-pro team?

RR: Arbutus Big Red.

#4. What’s your favorite football memory?

RR: When I first played on the Hall of Fame field in Canton, Ohio, and when I went to Canada to play.

#5. What do you hope to accomplish this season?

RR: Help bring my team to a championship and win a trophy.

 

Thanks for reading! Remember, you can catch a new Rhino Bites segment every week, right here on Rhino Charge, the Official Blog of the Hanover Rhinos football team.

The Charge is On!

While the turnout for Hanover Rhinos’ tryout weekend 2017 was below what was expected, the bottom line remains: football season is here for Hanover’s semi-pro team. This was the scene last Sunday, September 24th, 2017. In the hot afternoon sun, on an open patch of grass off of a back-alley in McSherrystown, a rag-tag-looking group of about 15 players in various different attires was assembled. They were lining up at their positions, tossing the ball around, and taking instruction from the most experienced members of the group. Players wore everything from raggedy old sleeveless t-shirts, to neon colored socks and pants, while some were sans shirt. 
The brain trust of Snacktown’s warriors sat about 30 yards away, making verbal notes and discussing the state of the team and the league it’s a member of, the Atlantic Football Association. 

While the general consensus of the coaches was that not much could be gleaned in terms of what talent the team will have this year from the two workouts, the weekend is as important as it’s always been, because it signals a beginning. 
To understand the importance of this beginning for the Rhinos, one must look at the end to last season. 
There’s no hiding the fact that the Rhinos didn’t achieve what they set out to achieve in the 2017 season. 
Last fall, a bevy of new faces on defense came in with an attitude, one that Hanover wasn’t going to be trampled on by their opponents anymore.

The identity of the defense was formed, and they branded themselves “Darkside”. The sky seemed the limit with the confidence and bravado of this group, and it seemed like historic league records were within reach. 

While 2017 wasn’t a historic season for Darkside, with the exception of one home loss to the Maryland Outlaws, the unit kept its promise that the Rhinos wouldn’t be beaten easily. 

Competitive games against York and Thurmont, teams that whipped the Rhinos in ’16, were joined by very competitive games against two of the league’s best, the Virginia Beach Rhinos and the Maryland Phantoms. 

Despite losing some key personnel in the final weeks of the season, the Rhinos competed for a playoff spot in the last game of the regular season. 

Hanover had a talented Franklin County team on the ropes late in the third quarter before Isaiah Keyes’ 104-yard interception return opened the floodgates for the Tigers. 

With the final attainable team goal slipping through their fingers, the Rhinos were left to ponder what happened to the swagger and attitude of the fall. Their 3-7 record was boosted by one forfeit win, so they won as many games on field as they had in 2016.

Even though the record was virtually the same as the 2016 season, the Rhinos just felt like a more competitive team in the spring of 2017. 
Despite this, with the goals of 2017-18 the same as they were at this point last year, it’s natural for an outsider to question what is going to be different this time around.

“Everyone is excited when the season starts, and expectations are high,” Rhinos’ head coach Noah Sneeringer said. “You always have your eyes set on a championship.”

What, aside from a clean slate and a fresh 0-0 record gives the Rhinos’ organization belief they can chase that elusive first championship in the 2018 season?
“We had a lot of new faces last year,” Sneeringer says. “We struggled with chemistry early on. With the veterans we have returning, we’ll have a jumpstart on the chemistry aspect. You combine that chemistry with the talent we have. The Hanover Rhinos could catch a lot of people by surprise.”
Also, Sneeringer, who begins his second full year as head coach, after having the interim tag removed last fall, enters his third full year calling the offensive plays for the Rhinos. 

“Year three is a big year for a coach,” Sneeringer said. “They say that’s the year that your system really gets to take hold. Number three is about getting in, getting your system running, and you get to see what you’ve got, which is the big thing.”

Despite the rest of the league continuing to cast aside the Rhinos as the same 2-8 team from 2016, the men who played on Snacktown’s 2017 edition know this team made strides. 
Back again are Charles Smith and Dorell Blue, who both spent time on the field at the tryouts. 
“With the guys out here today, I see talent we can put on the field,” said Blue, a veteran linebacker who enters his 6th season with the team. “Hopefully, when practice starts, we can get rolling with more numbers.”

Blue, who worked his way from bench player under Jimmy Moffitt in 2013-14, to trusted starter in 15-16, stepped back into more of a reserve role on defense last season. He recorded 19 combined tackles and his first sack in two years during the 2017 campaign.  

“(One of my goals is to) ball harder than I have in previous years,” Blue said. “I feel like I could have been better in previous years.”

Smith, a 6th-year cornerback from Baltimore, pointed out the need for more team unity in 2018. “Last year, when we lost, we ripped each other apart, and it wasn’t even after the game, it was during the game, on the sidelines” Smith said. “As a team, we gotta build up teammates and morale, and keep things positive.”

Smith enters 2018 just 3 deflections shy of breaking Lakeith Parker’s all-time team record of 13. 

Among the “new” faces who tried out for the Rhinos is one familiar to those who have followed the team closely since its reestablishment in 2012. 
Matt Reid played for the team during the fall training portion of 2013 under then-head coach Chris Welker. 

A muscle-bound, bearded defensive end who is anything but stocky, Reid is a sight to behold. 

His resume is also impressive, as he played football for Millersville University. 

“I wanted to (be a part of a team again,” Reid said. “When you go so long not being a part of a team, you lose the team mentality. When you’re on a team, guys have each others’ backs, and you have theirs, and I miss that.” 

His efforts are certainly welcome on a Rhinos’ team that will look to replicate it’s impressive 32 sacks from last season. 

“(Matt’s) not average. He’s taking horse pills,” Blue joked. “He’s got size and speed on defense.”

Now, the Rhinos will look to build on that size and speed, as well as all the other talented players they have, in the coming weeks. The mission to fill out the 60-man roster doesn’t stop until a few weeks into the regular season in the spring, but the Rhinos are hoping to fill it ahead of the first exhibition game. That game is the Rhinos’ annual charity game, the Santa Bowl, which is on December 2nd this year. 

The Rhinos are still welcoming interested players and coaches to contact the team. This can be done via the Hanover Rhinos Football Facebook page, by calling Chris Bunty at 717-465-0782, or by showing up at Hanover Rhinos’ practices, which are Sundays at 12:00 noon, at Moul Field, on 151 Moul Avenue, Hanover, Pa, 17331.

The Charge is on for 2018!

Oops!

Error cards are the best, aren’t they? There are many of these valuable cards in the hobby’s folklore containing mistakes both big and small. Here at Rhino Charge, we released our very own error card- and boy, did we goof up royally.
Isaac Tynes’ original card was adorned with a picture not of him, but of the Rhinos’ other #11 from the 2017 season, wide receiver Matt Aumen.
That card will forever live in Hanover folklore, but we had to set things right before we officially ended production of the 2017 team set.

Isaac Tynes becomes the only 2017 Rhino to have his very own post for his base card. You’ll recall that in 2016, every card was an individual post- this year, the cards were released in batches.

Without further ado, here is the final card of the 2017 Rhino Charge Team Set. With this out of the way, we can officially move on to the start of the 2018 season.

Photo Credit- Chris Bunty.

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