Darkside vs. Internal Personal Demons

5/6/17: Rhinos vs. Phantoms Preview

Embarrassment. Look up the dictionary definition, and it describes the very essence of how the Hanover Rhinos felt about their 41-0 loss to the Maryland Phantoms four weeks ago.
As Gene Hackman said at the end of the Replacements, “Every athlete dreams of a second chance,” – these Rhinos get to live that second chance this Saturday.

WHEN & WHERE: Saturday, 7:00 PM, at Dunbar High School, 1400 Orleans St, Baltimore, Md. 21231. 

WEATHER FORECAST AT KICKOFF: 60 degrees and partly cloudy. Precipitation: 15%. Humidity: 52%. Wind: 8 MPH East Southeast.

POPULATION: Baltimore: 622,104. Hanover: 15,365.

SERIES HISTORY: The Phantoms lead 6-1. Maryland beat the Rhinos 41-0 at Manheim Adventure Park on 4/8/17 behind 123 yards and 3 scores by running back Shanorm Young.

RHINOS’ OUTLOOK: Shane Falco- err, Jake Orner, set his single-game highs for completions, attempts, yards, touchdowns, completion percentage, yards per attempt, quarterback rating, and longest completion, and most importantly, picked up his first AFA win as a starter a week ago vs. Susquehanna Valley.
Helping the cause was another dominant performance by the Darkside Defense. Brandon Nicastro once again came frustratingly close to breaking Kody Taylor’s Rhinos’ single-game sack record, but fell just 1 sack short. His 2.5 sacks gave him 7 for the season, which puts him on pace to tie Taylor’s single-season record of 14, set in 2015..
Nicastro also recorded a second quarter safety, the Rhinos’ 3rd of the season, which breaks the team record of 2, which belonged to the 2014 team.
Roland Johnson rolled up 2 sacks, moving him to a tie for second on the team with 2.5 sacks.
The 36 points against the Knights last week was Hanover’s highest single-game total since 5/10/14, when they hung 54 on the Carroll County Cannons.
While racking up 12 points, Phoenix Russell became the first Rhino ever to score a touchdown on both offense and defense in the same game, with a 26-yard touchdown reception and a 37-yard interception return.
Russell tallied 75 all-purpose yards last Saturday. He was surpassed only by Bernard Jackson, who ripped off 80 all-purpose yards. Jackson, who has 380 career all-purpose yards, moved past Jack Isennock, Lloyd Welford, and Matt Vann for 8th on the team’s all-time list. Dominic Cotterino’s 30 receiving yards moved him past Chase Scharf for 14th in all-purpose yards with 219.
On the record-watch front, DeAnte Weldon is 15 yards shy of breaking Zac Carrick’s Rhinos’ career rushing record of 448 yards. Meanwhile, on defense, Charles Smith is 3 pass deflections shy of breaking Lakeith Parker’s career record, which stands at 13.

SCOUTING THE PHANTOMS: The Phantoms are coming off their first loss of the season, a 38-28 decision on the road against the Washington Bulldawgs.
Keith Smothers, the former Anne Arundel County Colt, made his first start of the season. His numbers weren’t bad, as he completed 11-of-20 passes for 145 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. It is unknown whether regular starter Cuan Edwards will return this week.
Shanorm Young, who is second in the AFA in rushing yards, continued his roll with 89 yards and 3 touchdowns vs. the Bulldawgs.
The Phantoms scored first, but the 6-0 lead they enjoyed in the first quarter was their largest of the game.
The Bulldawgs led most of the rest of the way, except for a brief moment in the fourth quarter, when the Phantoms pulled in front 28-26.
John Marshall, Jr.’s touchdown put Washington in front for good, and Kris Rodriguez sealed the game with a pick-six.