2/11: Rhinos at Harrisburg Pharaohs
The Hanover Rhinos look to keep the momentum flowing from their 26-12 victory over the Southern Maryland Gladiators in the Santa Bowl.
WHEN & WHERE: Saturday at 2:00 PM, Clarence C. Morrison Park, 1002 N 12th St, Harrisburg, PA 17105.
WEATHER FORECAST AT KICKOFF: 45 degrees and partly cloudy. Precipitation: 10%. Humidity: 61%. Wind: 5 MPH North Northeast.
RHINOS IN HARRISBURG: 0-2 all-time (both games were vs. Sharks). The Rhinos have been outscored 93-15.
LAST TIME OUT: The Rhinos had all pistons firing through the three first three quarters of Santa Bowl V on December 3. They outgained the Gladiators — and led 26-0 following the first 45 minutes. A new edition from the Southern Penn Titans, linebacker Stefaun Rascoe, opened the scoring with a 33-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter, and he nearly added a second defensive score on a 41-yard fumble return in the fourth that was negated by a penalty.
RHINOS’ OUTLOOK: After dishing out more sacks than Santa himself against Southern Maryland, the Rhinos look to continue the rebirth of their defensive line. A unit that had just 9 sacks in 10 games in 2016 harassed and smothered Gladiators’ quarterbacks Brian Green and Tyler Bailey. Bailey posted a ghastly stat line- he was 0-for-10 passing the ball. Adriel Garibay, Trey Seymour, and Brandon Nicastro racked up 1 sack each, while Garibay and rookie Adam Day also tallied 1 additional tackle for loss. The Rhinos pressured the passing game to the tune of 6 hurries and 2 quarterback hits.
Day (South Western ’09) will look to build on his team-high 4 tackles, while hard-charging linebacker-safety hybrid David Harden attempts to build on his 3 tackles from the exhibition debut.
Hannibal Flores is the only Rhinos’ player with multiple catches in the exhibition slate, as he hauled in 3 tosses from Chase Scharf for 56 yards against the Gladiators.
SCOUTING THE PHARAOHS: 2016 was the Pharaohs’ first as a franchise. They competed in the World Developmental Football League (WDFL) Northern Division. All-Star quarterback Michael Summerford, Jr. delivered the highlight of the season in week one, when he rushed for the game-winning 11-yard touchdown with 5 seconds left in a 16-14 win over the Virginia Wildcats. Summerford took the shotgun snap and drifted to the right while eyeing a receiver down the field. Under pressure, he shook a defensive lineman with a hellacious juke and raced around the right end of the line. Hemmed-in along the sideline, he spun away from a would-be-tackler and burst back across the field and into the end zone before absorbing a heavy hit at the goal line. Summerford has since gone across town to play for the Harrisburg Sharks, leaving big shoes to fill at quarterback. Several former Sharks, including Darius Crenshaw and Shakur Hamn-Brown, are on the Pharaohs’ roster. Crenshaw and Hamn-Brown spent extensive time on the Sharks oft-used kickoff coverage team in 2016, and Hamn-Brown recovered a fumble against the Rhinos in the final game of the regular season. The Pharaohs’ season ended with a loss to the Wildcats in the WDFL Northern Conference championship game. In the offseason, the Pharaohs moved over to the ECFA. They are ranked 15th of 16 teams in the ECFA preseason poll.