2015 Regular Season Reflection
This is a story I wrote for the Hanover Evening Sun, recapping the Hanover Rhinos’ last regular season game of 2015. The Mid-Atlantic Raiders brought only 10 players to Hanover, so the game was played 10-on-10, instead of 11-on-11. With a win, the Rhinos kept alive their playoff hopes.
“The 2015 Hanover Rhinos season was one marked by the strengthening of family and the building of a community bond.
There were moments of victory, close defeats and reassurances that the Rhinos belong in the Atlantic Football Association.
Even after the final regular season game ended, the season may not be finished for the Rhinos.
That’s because Hanover defeated the Mid-Atlantic Raiders, 32-6, in the final game of its fourth season Saturday afternoon, giving the Rhinos hope for a playoff berth.
Now, they must wait to see if the Carroll County Cannons or the Fredricksburg Bears lose next Saturday, both of which the Rhinos own the tiebreaker over.
“The only thing we have left to do is hope and pray,” wide receiver Chase Scharf said. “We did our part, now we need the rest to do theirs.”
Scharf led the way with two touchdowns, one passing and one receiving.
On the first play from scrimmage, he took a pitch from quarterback Bob Moore and rolled right.
He lofted a pass just over the defensive back’s shoulder, and onto the back shoulder of fullback Jeremy Knaub, who adjusted and made the catch at the goal line for a 26-yard touchdown.
“It’s always fun whenever you put stats on the board,” Scharf said.
Quarterback Rob Moore threw for 184 yards and three touchdowns.
His first score was a 34-yard strike to Juwan Fitchett, who slid in the back of the end zone, for a touchdown midway through the second quarter.
Knaub and Mid-Atlantic’s Rico Price traded rushing touchdowns, then Moore found Scharf in the front corner of the end zone on a fourth-and-17 pass. Moore threw the jump-ball pass for a 24-yard score and a 25-6 lead.
He put the wraps on things when he threw across his body on the run and found Jay Collins for a 61-yard catch and run in the fourth.
It was the only catch of the day for Collins, who was leading the league in receiving yards by 188 yards entering play.
“It’s a big accomplishment,” said Collins. “It comes from a lot of dedication. I had a high school career and hit a little roadblock. Life is all about bouncing back from failures. I don’t want to give up on football and I never will, so it means a lot.”
Collins, along with six of his teammates, will be representing the Rhinos at the AFA All-Star game in late June.
“It says a lot, especially since he is a rookie,” head coach Adam Bostian said. “He grew up real fast. … He’s a heck of an athlete.”
The other All-Stars include: Kody Taylor, Steve Smith, Dorell Blue, Trey Seymour and BaShawn McFadden.
Taylor, a linebacker, recorded three sacks Saturday and, pending events in other league games, it could be enough for him to hold on to the league’s lead in that category.
“I give it my all everyday,” Taylor said. “I come here every day during the few hours I get every week and give it all and hope for the best.”
“I was named an All-Star here when I played,” Bostian said. “It was an accomplishment. The league knows who you are. The All-Star game is nice, but our goal is to win championships.”
Bostian knows that Hanover must find a way to beat the best teams in the league for that to happen.
Still, in 2015, the Rhinos showed promise.
In Week 2 against the defending champions, the Maryland Phantoms, the Rhinos scored late to take the lead only to see it slip away on a touchdown pass in the closing seconds.
“We were picked to lose by 21 to one of the more established teams in Maryland,” Bostian said. “To go to Baltimore and lose by two is heartbreaking but reassuring that we can play with anybody.”
Hanover also came close against the undefeated Harrisburg Sharks, holding the highest scoring team in the league to 12 points.
“This is a family,” Bostian said. “We’re brothers. We’ve worked real hard to get established in the community. If you don’t have community, you don’t have anything.””.