EX-RHINOS, SNOW, DAMPEN RIVALRY SHOWDOWN
GLENVILLE, PA- After three years of waiting, and a week full of trash-talk and emotion, the game that all the build-up centered around didn’t match the hype.
Former Rhinos had a hand in all four touchdowns for the York Silver Bullets, as they controlled the Hanover Rhinos 25-6 on snow-laden Baugher Field at Manheim Adventure Park.
Chase Scharf threw for two scores, D.J. Brumfield ran for one, and safety Ciseroe Freeland returned an interception for 50 yards, as York won in the first game it played since 2013.
“We made some mistakes, and it bit us in the butt, it really did,” Rhinos head coach Ben Davis said.
The Rhinos (1-1) fumbled 7 times and threw 2 interceptions while racking up just 88 total yards, which left them looking just to spoil the shutout in the final minutes.
Down 25-0, Hanover took the ball at its own 31 with 40 seconds to go, and backup quarterback Amir Pearson at the helm.
On the first play, Pearson rifled the ball up the seam along the left hash to Danny Wonder. Standing at 5’3″, Wonder (South Western ’15) inspired his teammates when he held onto the ball during a violent collision to gain 25 yards.
Two plays later, Jordan Gardner returned after an injury to Pearson, and lofted the ball down the visitor’s sideline, and it tipped off the fingers of York’s Hannibal Flores before settling into the arms of Michael Small.
Small raced into the endzone with three seconds left for his second touchdown grab in as many games.
“It was bittersweet,” Davis said of the touchdown. “If it would have been up to me, I would have liked to have gotten a touchdown in the first quarter. I really would’ve liked to shut (York) up to begin with, but, we can only do what we can do.”
The fickle nature of Saturday’s game took hold from the very first play, when the Rhinos’ DeAnte Weldon fumbled the opening kickoff.
Dominic Cotterino recovered the fumble and averted disaster for Hanover, but on the next play, the snap went off quarterback Gardner’s fingers and over his head, and York’s Julio Ferrer recovered at the Hanover 14.
The Silver Bullets couldn’t do anything with their great field position, as four plays gained 0 yards.
Jordan Gardner fooled the Silver Bullets and the officials with a read-option keeper on the ensuing drive. The fake was sold so well that the Silver Bullets tackled running back Jeremy Knaub as Gardner ran up the opposite sideline for 10 yards. The officials blew the whistle as Knaub was tackled to the ground; meanwhile, Gardner was still running.
Two plays later, Jordan Banks (Hanover’12) put a pitch on the ground, and Aaron Sowers recovered for the Silver Bullets at the Rhinos’ 40.
Despite the best efforts of Richard Settle, who made 3 solo tackles in the span of four plays, the Silver Bullets scored on the fifth play of the drive when Chase Scharf hit Flores, breaking into the end zone in stride, with a perfectly thrown 20-yard pass.
A hectic series of events saw the Rhinos fail a fourth down fake punt, then York turned it over on its next possession on a bad pitch by Scharf that was recovered by Adriel Garibay (New Oxford ’05).
The stretch was rounded out when Gardner threw an interception on 3rd-and-24 to end the next Rhinos’ drive.
With their backs to the wall at their own 35, the Rhinos’ defense stiffened again. Settle recorded two more solo tackles and Lloyd Welford chopped down Darren Stephens to cause an incomplete pass as the Bullets went 4-and-out.
On the next series, Gardner was picked off by safety Greg Murray as he tried to go to Allen Neiderer up the left seam near mid-field.
This time, the Bullets found paydirt.
Scharf broke the pocket on 3rd-and-9 from Hanover’s 24, rushing up the middle and then bouncing the play to the sideline for an 11 yard gain ahead of a big hit by Welford.
Flores tested the limits of his dexterity and the field’s boudary as he stretched for Scharf’s throw in the front left corner of the end zone on 2nd-and-7 from the 10. The play was ruled a touchdown as he tumbled out of bounds, clutching the ball.
York faked the extra point, but Flores’ desperation pass fell between two diving receivers in the end zone.
Hanover’s next drive bore no fruit, but Banks rocketed a 53-yard punt that was fielded by Derren Williams at the goal line. With less than a minute left in the half, Williams brought the ball out, and Pearson leveled him with a high, hard, hit.
The Rhinos totaled -4 yards in the first half on 22 plays.
The second half started very promisingly for the Rhinos, as the defense forced a 3-and-out, led by Dustin Knode’s two tackles.
The Rhinos offense started the second half the same way as the first.
On the first play from scrimmage, the snap got away from Gardner, and Ronald Kennedy recovered for York at the Hanover 27.
However, the defense didn’t let that get in their way, as Weldon came up with a sliding interception of Scharf’s pass at the 21 on the next play.
The Rhinos ran another fake punt on 4th-and-14, but Banks came up 6 yards short, and York took the ball at the Hanover 15 after a personal foul on the Hanover bench.
Another personal foul, this one on Davis for arguing about an alleged obscene gesture by York’s Jay Collins, moved the ball to the 7 for 1st-and-goal.
Settle punctuated another great defensive stand by sacking Scharf on 4th-and-goal.
“It’s always great to go out and hit somebody hard,” Settle said. “(York) is good competition, they have some pretty big boys out there, but I think we held our own.”
Ciseroe Freeland drove the stake into his former team on the next drive when he picked off Gardner’s medium-depth pass thrown toward Neiderer at midfield.
He proceeded to motor 50 yards for a touchdown, crossing the line as Small dragged him down.
The Silver Bullets ground the clock down in the fourth quarter, with Brumfield powering through a tackle and falling across the goal line to make it 25-0 with 45 seconds left in the game.