NANTICOKE – With grass still lodged in his helmet and his white numbers caked in mud, Pat Hempel looked down at himself after the game and just smiled.
The junior running back was the workhorse for the Nanticoke offense, carrying the ball 37 times for 175 yards to lead the Trojans to a 28-12 victory over Hanover Area on Friday night.
The line was allowing us to get great penetration, Hempel said. There was great play calling, and all I had to do was run hard and find the hole.
In addition to his rushing attack, Hempel also completed a 10-yard pass for a first down to go along with two catches for 12 yards in the contest.
He's been doing it for us all season long, Nanticoke coach Ron Bruza said. He's a guy that brings so much to the table and tonight, he didn't disappoint.
In a scoreless first quarter, Nanticoke controlled the tempo by handing the ball off to Hempel and allowing him to march his team down the field. The Trojans capped a methodical 20-play, nine-minute drive on a J.T. Levandowski quarterback sneak from the 1 with 11:24 remaining in the second quarter.
The Trojans took a 7-0 lead into halftime.
On the opening drive of the second half, Hanover Area quarterback Casey O'Mack was intercepted by Kyle Gavrish along the sideline, and Gavrish was able to return the ball untouched for a score with 7:28 left in the third.
That was a huge play for us, Ron Bruza said. It was a momentum changing play.
Hanover Area was forced to punt on its next possession, but recovered a muffed punt that a Nanticoke returner couldn't handle on the Trojans' 15-yard line. The Hawkeyes responded with a Brian Belcher 2-yard touchdown run to cut the score to 14-6 with 5:38 remaining in the third.
The Trojans defense held firm, and Brandon Meck forced a fumble when he delivered a crushing hit to O'Mack in the backfield, and Nanticoke pounced on it on the Hawkeyes' 14-yard line.
Nanticoke 28, Hanover Area 12
NAN – J.T. Levandowski 1 run (Alex Norton kick), 11:24
NAN – Kyle Gavrish 70 interception return (Alex Norton kick), 7:28
HA – Brian Belcher 2 run (2 pt conversion no good), 5:38
NAN – J.T. Levandowski 2 run (Alex Norton kick), 6:25
NAN – J.T. Levandowski 9 run (Alex Norton kick), 1:39
HA – Dillon Ropietski 9 rec from Casey O'Mack (2 pt conversion no good), 0:53
|Team Statistics||Hanover Area||Nanticoke|
RUSHING – NAN: Pat Hempel 37-175, Blake Balderrama 2-8, J.T. Levandowski 4-3, Maurice Wood 5-17, Ron Kotz 1-2; HA: Casey O'Mack 6-109, Brian Belcher 4-16, Dillon Ropietski 5-6, Ya'Sir Jones 7-2, Isaiah Taylor 3-1
PASSING – NAN: J.T. Levandowki 3-12-0-30, Pat Hempel 1-1-0-10; HA: Casey O'Mack 4-12-1-38
RECEIVING – NAN: Pat Hempel 2-12, Nate Seise 2-28; HA: Dillon Ropietski 3-33, Elido Veras 1-5