5/14: Kids’ Day: Rhinos vs Franklin County Tigers
The two leading tacklers in the AFA duke it out in Snacktown on Saturday.
Rhinos’ team captain Jeremy Renoll and Tigers’ linebacker Doug Kilpatrick are tied atop the leaderboard with 84 stops each.
“Two great linebackers that play every snap, and flow to the ball,” says Franklin County player/owner Josh Leininger. “Both know the importance of filling the gaps and making form tackles. They both will be players to keep your eyes on the whole game.”
Also at stake is 4th place in the 5-team North Division. Franklin County (2-6) would clinch 4th with a win, while the Rhinos (1-7) would pull ahead on head-to-head tiebreaker with one game left if they win.
WHEN & WHERE: Saturday at 1:00 PM, Manheim Adventure Park, 4565 Camp Woods Rd, Glenville, PA 17329.
WEATHER FORECAST: 69 degrees and scattered t-storms. Precipitation: 80%. Humidity: 65%. Wind: 15 MPH.
RHINOS IN HOME FINALES: 3-1, including a 32-6 trouncing of the Mid-Atlantic Raiders on Kids’ Day last year.
SERIES HISTORY: Hanover leads 4-0. The Rhinos have outscored the Tigers 148-21.
LAST MEETING: The Rhinos started off the season 1-0, thanks to a furious fourth quarter rally over the game’s final 8:10. Jordan Gardner had his most effective day as a Semi-Pro, completing 7-of-16 passes for 135 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Michael Small snagged the winning 28-yard touchdown on 4th-and-4, and DeAnte Weldon added the Rhinos’ only rushing touchdown of the season, as Hanover won 24-14. Renoll recorded 14 tackles for the Rhinos, and Kilpatrick logged 11 for the Tigers.
TACKLE DERBY: Kilpatrick has played one less game, as the Tigers earned a forfeit win over the Metro Phoenix last week. Kilpatrick is averaging 12 tackles per game, while Renoll checks in at 10.5.
“It’s gonna be a battle,” Renoll says.
Kilpatrick is more of a rush-linebacker, with 7 sacks. Renoll plays the more-traditional middle linebacker game, with 3 pass deflections, and one interception that he returned 40 yards.
RHINOS’ OUTLOOK: A change at coach and defensive co-ordinater didn’t change the results for the Rhinos last week. The club-record shutout streak currently stands at 270:22 of game action, the equivalent of 18 quarters.
For the sixth time in the last 7 games, the Rhinos gave up an interception that was returned inside their own 5 yard line. On the last play of the first half, Carroll County’s Lamont Long returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown. It was the fourth pick-six Hanover allowed this season. Alex Isennock set a single-game Hanover high for 2016 by throwing 5 interceptions in the loss to the Cannons.
Rookie receiver Dominic Cotterino set a career-high with 4 catches last week. His 23 yards were also a career high, and accounts for half of his season total.
Linebacker Richard Settle will look to add to his team-leading four fumble recoveries, all of which occurred last week. Settle is also in the top-10 in tackles in the AFA, with 66.
Lloyd Welford earned his third interception of the season in the 38-0 loss, tying his career-high that he set last year.
There is a 5-way tie atop the team leaderboard in forced fumbles. Renoll, Settle, Cotterino, Dustyn Lauver, and kicker Alex Elliott all have one on the season.
Charles Smith’s two pass deflections last week give him a team-high 6 on the season. He’s halfway to Lakeith Parker’s total of 13 last year.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS: For the fourth time this season, and first time since week 3, the Rhinos will be playing a team that did not play an official league game the previous week. Hanover is 1-2 in those games, including the win over Franklin County in week 1.
“We are excited to take the field with the Rhinos for some competitive football and make it a great day for the fans and the kids,” Leininger says. “Glad to be part of Kids’ Day, to show the young kids what a great game this is.”
In 5 games since gouging the Rhinos for a season-high 82 yards on 14 carries (5.9 ypc), Reggie Russ has struggled to gain traction, running 42 times for just 145 yards (3.5 ypc). He has not tallied more than 42 yards rushing in the 5 games since.
Leininger continues to make the starts at quarterback and take most of the snaps. However, his completion percent in 2016 is 40%, which is 25 points lower than his 2015 total. Backup Matt Wade has completed only 11-of-43 passes (26%).
Linebacker DJ Branche joins Kilpatrick in the top-10 in the AFA in tackles.