Meet Your 2016 Rhinos All-Stars

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Photo Credit- Ursula H. Yost.

On Wednesday, May 25, 2016, a panel consisting of the AFA North Division owners selected 5 members of the Hanover Rhinos to represent the AFA Northern Conference in the 4th Annual AFA Spring All-Star game.

Linebackers Jeremy Renoll and Richard Settle, offensive/defensive tackle Dustyn Lauver, safety Jack Isennock, and offensive utility man Alex Isennock were chosen to represent Snacktown’s warriors, while Travis Garretson and Michael Small were chosen as alternates, which will be used as replacements if one of the original five can’t make it to the game.

The site for the game has yet to be determined. It was originally scheduled to be played in Lynchburg, VA, and will still be on June 18th, at a site TBA, in the hours preceeding the Atlantic Bowl, which is the AFA Championship.

Renoll led the league, and set a Rhinos record with 101 tackles in his final semi-pro season. He is a 2006 graduate of South Western High School in Hanover, Pa. Renoll served as the team’s defensive captain this season. He has now been nominated to the AFA All-Star game twice as a Rhino. He was voted into the inaugural all-star game as a defensive end in 2012. Renoll scored the final points of the season for Hanover on a two-point conversion with 9.8 seconds left in the 4th quarter of the last game at Harrisburg.
“(This game will be) a little bit different, because it will be the last time I ever step on a football field ready to do battle,” Renoll said.

Settle, a 2014 graduate of Northern York High School, joined the Rhinos for his first semi-pro season in 2016. He averaged a team-high 10.8 tackles per game in the 8 contests he played, and set a team record with 4 fumble recoveries in a single game on 5/7 at home vs. Carroll County. Settle  ended the Rhinos’ 301:59 scoreless streak on 5/14 vs. Franklin County, when he lept over a defender and burst 55 yards for a rushing touchdown on the first play of the second half. Settle also tied for the team lead in sacks, with 2.0.
Settle and Renoll also share the club’s single-game tackles record, which is 15. Renoll set his mark on 4/16 vs. Harrisburg, and Settle equaled it on 5/14 vs. Franklin County.

Lauver played both offensive and defensive line for the Rhinos in ’16. He used his hulking frame to push defenders around and protect his quarterback, but on defense, he showcased his agility, as he hurried opposing quarterbacks a team-high 9 times. He also led the team with two forced fumbles.
Lauver is a 2015 graduate of Bermudian Springs High School, where he played in the 2014 PIAA Class AA semifinals against Wyomissing.  Like Settle, Lauver was also an AFA rookie this season.
“Honestly, it’s a blessing. Words can’t describe how excited and thrilled I am to be called an all star!,” Lauver said.

Alex Isennock and his brother Jack round out a group of four Rhinos’ rookies to be voted to the spring classic. Alex played the first six games of the season at wide receiver, and led Hanover with 191 receiving yards. He caught a season-high 5 balls for 102 yards 3/12 at Franklin County. Alex switched to quarterback for the last four games of the season, marking the first time in his life he’d taken snaps in a football game. He completed 5 passes in a row on 5/7 vs. Carroll County, and threw his first touchdown pass the next week against Franklin County, a 27-yard strike to tight end Adrian Acevedo.
“It’s a great honor to be considered one of the best in the league by the owners and coaches. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to compete amongst the best,” Alex said.

Jack Isennock became the first player in Hanover Rhinos history to score two defensive touchdowns in the same year. He picked off a Matt Wade pass and took it 34 yards for a touchdown in week 10 vs. Franklin County, and scooped up a fumble, and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown for the Rhinos’ only score of week 11 at Harrisburg. Jack also hauled in 4 catches for a team season-high 106 yards against the Sharks.
In the first game against the Sharks on 4/16, Jack recorded a career-high 10 tackles (9 solo).
The Isennock brothers went to Hereford High School in Parkton, Maryland. Jack was the youngest player on the 2016 Hanover Rhinos’ roster.
“I’m really appreciative that the owners of the teams throughout the league see me as a player that can compete with the best,” Jack said.

Garretson played primarily on the offensive line this season, but showcased his motor when he did play on defense. Garretson recorded a sack of Carroll County quarterback Josh Yacovissi on 4/23.

Small, a 2010 graduate of Gettysburg High School, and an alumni of the great football program at that school, was 3rd in the AFA in yards-per-reception among players with at least five catches. He caught 5 balls for 157 yards (31.4 ypc), and 2 touchdowns. He hauled in the winning 28-yard grab on 4th-and-4 in the 4th quarter on 3/12 at Franklin County.

Going Out With a Bang

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Photo Credit- Ursula H. Yost.

The Hanover Rhinos’ season ended Saturday, but not without one more moment of glory. Read about the game here: https://hanoverrhinosblog.wordpress.com/game-recaps-2/

Harrisburg 42, Hanover 8

Going Out With a Bang

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Hanover Rhinos linebacker Jeremy Renoll forces Harrisburg’s James Wilbern, Jr. (15) to fumble late in the fourth quarter. Photo Credit- Ursula H. Yost.

STEELTON, Pa.- It wasn’t the storybook ending to a storybook season, but it was the perfect ending to the season the 2016 Hanover Rhinos had.

Despite suffering a 42-8 loss to the defending AFA champions, the Rhinos finished with one moment of glory, and it came from a combination of the retiring defensive captain, and the youngest player on the team.

Harrisburg took possession of the ball with 24 seconds left in the game. Third-string quarterback Dan Ford completed a medium pass to James Wilbern, Jr., along the Hanover sideline.

As members of the Rhinos’ bench shouted for a little respect to be shown by the Sharks, who were up 42-0, Jeremy Renoll raced from the middle of the field, wrapped his arms around Wilbern, Jr. from behind, and slung him toward the ground.

As Wilbern, Jr. was falling, the ball popped loose, and took one bounce into the arms of Hanover’s Jack Isennock at the Rhinos’ 45.

Heeding the screams of the bench, Isennock immediately burst down the sideline. After a slight look for a cutback lane, Isennock lowered his shoulder and ran through a feeble tackle attempt by Ford.

Steady rain drops were the only thing giving the Rhinos’ safety resistance as he burst into the end zone with 9.8 seconds left.

“It was great,” Isennock said. “When Jeremy ripped the ball out, it bounced right into my arms, and I took off. The quarterback tried to get in my way, and I just lowered my shoulder and ran through him. The only thing in my mind was not getting shutout.”

Isennock is the first player in Rhinos history with two defensive touchdowns in the same season.

With Renoll never having scored a defensive touchdown in his semi-pro career, head coach Noah Sneeringer gave the linebacker some points to celebrate on the extra-point try.

The snap was low, but holder Jordan Gardner scooped it up, yelled ‘fire’, and executed the play fake that Sneeringer had used a timeout to design.

Renoll was wide-open in the back right corner of the end zone, and Gardner tossed the ball to him for the final points of the season.

Renoll jogged to the sideline with the ball, and co-owner Chris Bunty awarded him the pigskin after the game.

“It felt pretty good, just to see some of these younger kids grow, mature, and see how much they learned over this year,” Renoll said of the season. “Some of these older guys helped pass some knowledge down. Even though the record doesn’t show it, (this season), is a win to pass knowledge to these younger kids, and have them looking forward to something next year.”

The late score also punctuated what was a great day for Isennock. After entering training camp as one of more than 10 receivers on the roster, Isennock switched to defensive back, and only played receiver sparingly in the first 9 games of the season.

Entering the day with 1 catch for 16 yards, the product of Hereford High School put up 106 yards on 4 catches, setting the Hanover season-high for receiving yards.

His 62-yard catch on a pass from his brother Alex Isennock in the first quarter was the longest play of the Hanover Rhinos’ season.

“It means a lot, especially with Alex at quarterback,” Jack Isennock said. “I want to do my best to make sure he and the team can win. I give 110%. I just ended up being open, and the ball fell into my arms.”

Hanover came out on the first drive of the game in an unconventional formation, with 3 interior lineman between the hashes, and the other two split out wide, but still on the line. However, the Rhinos were called for an illegal formation on the first two plays, and scrapped the idea while going three-and-out.

Howard Holton grabbed Jordan Gardner’s punt, and angled toward the left, before picking up some blocks, and slow-stepped into the end zone for a 49-yard touchdown, 2 minutes and 2 seconds into the game.

Two plays later, Alex Isennock was hit by Shariff Blake, and threw the ball up for grabs, aiming for Jordan Gardner along the left hash. Holton jumped, snagged the ball, and ran a straight line to the end zone for a 29-yard score to make it 14-0.

Harrisburg’s first offensive series was a smashing success.

Kevin Porter and Xavier Garfield slashed right for 11 and 17 yards on successive plays.

Scott Moore put Harrisburg up 21-0 when he took Mike DeTemple’s pass behind the line in the left flat, ran 7 yards, and was tackled across the line by Dorell Blue.

Harrisburg scored for the fourth time in the first quarter on its next drive. Quenton Johnson launched off his right foot, whirled into the air, caught DeTemple’s pass, and toe-tapped in the back of the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown, making the score 28-0 on the final play of the first quarter.

The Rhinos’ defense did not allow another touchdown in the game, and Hanover held Harrisburg scoreless for the next 36:50 of game time.

Jack Isennock’s long reception came on the first play from scrimmage in the second quarter.

On 2nd-and-10, a 7-yard screen pass to Richard Settle moved the ball to the Harrisburg 11.

However, two snaps later, on 4th down, Alex Isennock’s back-foot pass under pressure was trapped by a diving Settle at the 8, giving the ball back to the Sharks.

Jack Isennock nearly came up with a diving interception on an extraordinary effort on the next drive. DeTemple’s pass for Porter was high, and tipped into the air by the Sharks’ receiver, and Isennock lurched from way behind the play to get his hands on the ball, but it fell incomplete when Jack Isennock hit the ground.

Charles Walls’ quarterback hurry on 3rd-and-20 forced an incompletion, and the Sharks punted.

Alex Isennock hooked up with Jack Isennock on a 24-yard completion as the Rhinos moved the ball with less than two minutes in the half.

Two incompletions and a 4-yard loss, on a pass to Lloyd Welford, pushed the Rhinos to 4th-and-14 near midfield, and they let the clock run out on the first half.

On the first series of the third quarter, Jordan Gardner earned his first sack of the season, when he burst through the middle of the line, chased down DeTemple, grabbed the quarterback’s shoulder, and yanked him down for a 10-yard loss.

Harrisburg lined up on 4th-and-25 from midfield, with DeTemple deep in the backfield, presumably to punt. However, when he took the snap, he dropped back and fired the ball deep to the left, toward Porter. Porter wrapped both hands around the ball as it floated over his shoulder, but Hanover’s Isaac Tynes knocked the ball loose for an incompletion as they fell to the ground.

Harrisburg’s next completion was nearly ended by a Dallas Carter interception at the Hanover 10. However, Carter juggled the ball up into the air, and Johnson caught it for a first down at the Rhinos’ 3.

The Rhinos stiffened and threw Alexander Langhans for a pair of 3-yard losses. Tynes and Alex Isennock deflected away the next two passing attempts to complete the goal line stand.

Jorge Caraballo and Kevin Fritschy added the final two touchdowns for Harrisburg, the former on an interception, and the latter off of a blocked punt by Derek Lickers.

Hanover moved onto the Harrisburg side of midfield in the closing minutes when Jack Isennock caught a 19-yard pass from Alex Isennock on 3rd-and-9.

The drive ended when Alex Isennock fumbled the snap at the Harrisburg 32, and Shakur Hamn-Brown recoverd for the Sharks, setting up the late-game heroics.

Closing Time

 

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Photo Credit- Ursula H. Yost.

The Hanover Rhinos look to close the season with their first-ever win over Harrisburg, while Jeremy Renoll looks to hit the century-mark in tackles. Read the game notes here: https://hanoverrhinosblog.wordpress.com/game-day-preview/

 

Hanover at Harrisburg preview

 5/21: Rhinos at Harrisburg Sharks

The Hanover Rhinos look to close the 2016 season on a two-game winning streak, as they travel up US-15 North to take on the AFA North Division Champions, the Harrisburg Sharks.
Plenty is on the line for Harrisburg, as they battle for the top playoff seed in the AFA Northern Conference.

WHEN & WHERE: Saturday at 1:00 PM, following pre-game ceremony for Joshua Potts, Steelton-Highspire Football Field, South 6th St & Spruce St, Steelton, PA 17113.

WEATHER FORECAST: 59 degrees and rainy. Precipitation: 80%. Humidity: 67%. Wind: 9 MPH.

RHINOS IN SEASON FINALES: 4-0, including a 28-6 upset of the Maryland Phantoms in 2012.

SERIES HISTORY: Harrisburg leads 3-0. The Sharks have outscored the Rhinos 99-7.

LAST MEETING: The Rhinos and Sharks played to a scoreless draw after 1 quarter in week 6. Over the final 3 quarters, Clayton McNair ran for 159 yards, and Harrisburg outscored the Rhinos 36-0. Jeremy Renoll set a single-game club record for Hanover with 15 tackles, while Richard Settle added 12 stops, and Jack Isennock set a career-high with 10 stops and 1 interception.
The Rhinos were shutout for the second time on the year, while Howard Holton recorded the first safety of the year for the Sharks.

REMEMBERING POTTS: Prior to the 1:00 kick-off, the Sharks will host a ceremony on the field honoring their former defensive back Joshua Potts.
Potts passed away at the age of 26 on January 6, 2016.

PLAYOFF SCENARIO: To clinch the #1 seed in the Northern Conference, Harrisburg needs to win and have the Virginia Chargers win or tie against the Maryland Phantoms Saturday night at Woodgrove High School in Virginia. Harrisburg would be the #2 seed if the Phantoms win.

RHINOS’ OUTLOOK: When the Hanover Rhinos are in need of a record-buster, who do they call? Richard Settle. Settle’s 55-yard leap-and-dash to the end zone on the first play of the second half last week broke the Rhinos’ club-record 301:59 scoreless streak. Settle also tied the club record with 15 tackles in the game. The week before, he set the club’s single-game fumble recovery record, with 4. Settle is 3rd in the AFA in tackles, with 81.
The league’s leading tackler, Jeremy Renoll, will set his sights on 100 tackles, and try to wrap up the tackle title. Renoll has 95 tackles on the season. Franklin County’s Doug Kilpatrick trails Renoll by 7 tackles entering the final week.
On offense, quarterback Alex Isennock set career-highs with 9 completions and 111 yards. He only threw the ball 3 times after the skies opened up at the half, but completed two of them, both at enormous moments. Isennock completed a fourth-down pass to DeAnte Weldon, then, a few snaps later, he completed his first career touchdown pass when he threaded the needle to Adrian Acevedo.
Jack Isennock’s fourth quarter pick-six was the first non-offensive touchdown for the Rhinos on the season.

SCOUTING THE SHARKS: Harrisburg’s 20-game win-streak was snapped at the Maryland Phantoms in week 8, but they have rebounded nicely with two road wins.
The Sharks clinched their third straight AFA North Division title with a 41-39 win at York in week 9. Trailing 18-7 at the half, the Sharks went on a 34-14 run for the comeback victory.
Last week, the Sharks kept their hopes alive for the #1-seed in the conference when Mike DeTemple found Kevin Porter for the game-winning 35-yard touchdown pass in overtime at Carroll County, lifting Harrisburg to the 20-14 win.

Wordy Wednesdays

gardyA Word With: Jordan Gardner

George Marinos recently sat down with Hanover Rhinos rookie and New Oxford graduate Jordan Gardner.
Gardner played the first 6 games of this season at quarterback, and has played the last 3 at tight end.

GM: I’m here with Hanover Rhinos rookie Jordan Gardner. You’ve played a number of positions in your first season as a semi-pro player. Describe what this first season has been like for you.

JG: It’s been crazy, a big step up from just playing high school ball last year. Playing several positions hasn’t been a big change for me at all. I started at 5 different positions just during my senior year of high school, on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, as well as being on special teams. It’s something I take pride in, being very versatile.

GM: You had a really nice game at tight end this past week against Franklin County. Tell me what it’s like when the quarterback looks your way, and you see the ball coming toward you in the air?

JG: I’ve felt like I’ve had to prove something all season to my teammates and my opponents, so honestly, when that ball comes my way, the only thing that goes through my head, is me telling myself ‘make a play’. For you, your teammates, and everyone watching. I was never really a selfish receiver, I was part of a triple option offense most of my football career and played receiver, wasn’t fun, but now I have been given a chance to show off my skills, and heck, why not, Alex (Isennock) made me look good when I was playing quarterback, why not return the favor every once in awhile with a nice catch.

GM: What’s the toughest part of playing tight end?

JG: For me personally, blocking some of the defensive ends in this league. Some of them outweigh me 50 or more pounds, a lot for a small tight end, but I do my best, and do have a few pancakes that I do take a lot of pride in.

GM: Another thing that you take a lot of pride in is a moment from your junior year at New Oxford. You caught the game-winning touchdown in overtime against the area’s established football power, South Western. Talk about the moment, and what it was like to be a part of that.

JG: Well, that season alone was something special. New Oxford, known as a joke in the sport of football, the program had its bright moments, but was never a huge football program. My class, even as juniors, took the entire school, and boosted school spirit, and that just had the football team ready to play. We all worked out twice a day throughout the summer, doing everything we could to put new Oxford on the map, and we made a statement, losing by literally an inch to Bermudian Springs, and than beating South Western, two power houses. We made the playoffs that year, and that season will be something I will never forget.

GM: It must have been tough to endure a winless season the next year as a senior.

JG: Of course, it’s never fun. To be a captain, a leader of that team, to not be able to get the rest of the seniors a win, I know I personally was heart broken after our senior night game, because our class was always looked at as the class to save New Oxford football, even through little league football, middle school, JV. We always had so much talent, and worked so hard, and for it to not work out in our favor to end our career, was definitely something hard to deal with.

GM: It seems like a common theme at New Oxford was proving everyone on the outside wrong. You’re a pretty calm guy on the sidelines on game day. Is there any part of you that has a little chip on your shoulder?

JG: Yeah, I have a big chip on my shoulder. I love to lead, by example, I usually am calm and don’t say much, unless I see someone that needs it, like (our quarterback) Alex. I like to say just a few words running out to the huddle, because I know quarterback is not an easy position to just jump in and play, but he’s doing well, and I’m proud of the kid. I’m not one to talk trash, or start anything, but I’m not afraid to stand up for my teammates, and I’ve not hesitated all season to stand in front of my teammates, just how I was raised. You protect your own, you protect your family with all you got, because they will do the same for you.

GM: When you played your last game at New Oxford, did you think that your career was over, or did you envision playing at the next level?

JG: My plans were to go to McDaniel College and continue my football career. That was the school I wanted to attend, but didn’t get accepted, and I knew I didn’t want to stop playing, especially after my senior year of high school, so I tried out for the rhinos, and the rest is history.

GM: How did you find out about the Rhinos?

JG: From Lauren, our trainer. I actually dated her in high school, and she introduced me to the team. I did the chains for a few games last season, and just knew that’s what I was going to do. I wanted to be a big part of the team, and I feel as if I put a mark on the team, can’t say I had an amazing season, but more will come, that I promise. 

GM: You won the starting quarterback job, and then went out and led a comeback victory in the first game of the season. How did that feel, especially after not winning a game for a year?

JG: It was amazing. I was never given the chance to be the guy (at quarterback) throughout high school. My senior year, I proved myself and won the job, but we had no real threat on the outside, so they moved me out there to hopefully improve the offense completely, and I only had 5 catches and one touchdown my senior year. So to win the job at a higher level, and get a statement at the position in my first game, was definitely a huge step in my career.

GM: How would you describe your time spent at quarterback for the Rhinos over the first 6 weeks of 2016?

JG: A lot of fun, a little painful at times, but hey, my line did all they could do, and  I couldn’t ask for much more. I would much rather have ended the season at quarterback, because it’s the position I love, but I will play my role, and come back next year, and Alex, I got a QB competition for you, how’s that sound?

GM: Competition breeds champions. Was it exciting watching Alex really come into his own during the second half this past week?

JG: Yes it was, I was happy to be catching passes from him, really showed a lot about his character and toughness. That’s one man I will go through hell and back for, whether he’s throwing me the ball, or I’m throwing him the ball, or even outside of football, I got his back and I know he’s got mine.

GM: Does it really irritate you when someone says sports aren’t important? Through sports, many great friendships and bonds are formed for life, and there seems to be a level of sports that most on the outside don’t understand.

JG: Yes it does. I was a three sport athlete in high school, and 90% of my friends were athletes, too. Just bonds throughout sports, through the good times and the bad times, sports show character, and through that, that’s how you earn respect, and grow friendships. The Hereford boys, Alex, Dom, and Jack, hell, I’ve never even heard of Hereford until I met them, who would have ever guessed I would be friends with them, let alone close friends. And my best friend Dallas Carter, glad he was able to share this season with me.

GM: What do you think about the young core group of players this team has?

JG: I think we are very talented. Honestly, I think our offense could be the scariest offense to play in the league, with the weapons we have. With more time to open up and throw the ball down the field, and experience alone, this team could be very scary in the next few seasons, because our defense has already proven themselves against the best of the best.

GM: What are the most recent 5 songs on your music playlist?

JG: I listen to a lot of different music, so here it is: 1. Low Life by The Weeknd. 2. Really Really by Kevin Gates. 3. Mine by Lil’ Kim Ft. Kevin Gates. 4. Power of Positive Drinkin’ by Chris Janson. 5. Choices by Hearts & Hands.

GM: Are you a Ford or a Chevy guy?

JG: Ford all the way!! I own a 1989 Ford F-150. His name is Pap, and wouldn’t trade him for a Ferrari!!

GM: Where did the nickname Pap come from?

JG: Just an old truck, one thing I love about that truck, it’s simple, and so is Pap, old and simple. Perfect name for that truck.

GM: Would you ever put Truck Nutz on Pap?

JG: (Laughs), Never, too much respect for that truck (chuckles).

GM: How do you feel about the little old lady in South Carolina who received a $445 fine for having Truck Nutz on her pickup truck?

JG: I didn’t hear about that. I think it’s funny and all to put them on a truck, nothing against it, just nothing I would personally do. And honestly, I think driving by a little old lady in a truck with Truck Nutz on it would probably make my day (chuckles).

GM: You do know that’s going to be the girls in your generation 50 years from now, driving around with them dangling from the bumper like its nothing?

JG: Probably (chuckles).

GM: What’s your favorite TV show?

JG: Trailer Park Boys.

GM: Explain the show to some of our readers who have never seen it.

JG: It’s about a community in a trailer park, doing many different things. Honestly, it’s hilarious.

GM: Which character from the show are you, and why?

JG: Julian, because he’s the leader. Everyone looks to him for direction, and I love being the person people look up to for guidance

GM: Could you ever imagine yourself being a guidance counselor?

JG: I think I could do it, most definitely, just don’t know if that would be my career choice.

GM: What made you decide to start playing football when you were younger?

JG: My older cousin Dustin really got me into it. I have him to thank for all my talents, he really made me the football player I am today.

GM: Did he play for New Oxford as well?

JG: He did his senior year. He also played at Spring Grove and Bermudian. He played for the Rhinos earlier this year, in the Santa Bowl, but broke his collarbone. It was a bit of a heart-break to know he couldn’t play with me anymore. We finally had our chance to be on the same team, but it ended fast.

GM: What position did he play?

JG: He played receiver, corner, and saftey. He actually recorded an interception in the Santa Bowl.

GM: Was it difficult playing a game at quarterback in which both teams were wearing the same jersey color, like the Santa Bowl?

JG: Very (chuckles), it was a confusing time.

GM: I have one final question for you. Donald Trump’s hair is _____ and reminds me of ______.

JG: Donald Trump’s hair is ugly, and reminds me of an old lady’s hair.

GM: (Chuckles), thanks for your time, man.

JG: No problemo.

Remember, you can catch a new Q&A session with a Hanover Rhinos player on Wordy Wednesdays, once a month during the offseason, exclusively on Rhino Charge, the official blog of the Hanover Rhinos.

Wordy Wednesdays

gardyNew Oxford graduate and Hanover Rhinos’ rookie Jordan Gardner joins us on Wordy Wednesdays to discuss the chip on his shoulder, as well as old ladies who display Truck Nutz. https://hanoverrhinosblog.wordpress.com/wordy-wednesdays/