WILKES-BARRE — Hanover Area’s slow start Saturday afternoon could be traced to the weather.
Not at game time where the temperature was in the mid-60s. It was during the week when the Hawkeyes wanted to adjust a struggling offense.
“That’s what we were worried about,” Hanover area coach Mike McCree said. “We made some tweaks to the offense this week. We struggled with practice with the rain and the mud, so we were a little nervous about that. We left some points off the board early.”
Not in the second quarter, though, as Hanover Area took control by scoring 27 points on the way to defeating Holy Redeemer, 41-12, in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 3A-A game.
Hanover Area improved to 2-4, moving closer to a District 2 Class 3A playoff spot where eight of nine teams qualify. Redeemer, also a Class 3A team, fell to 0-6.
The Hawkeyes found themselves down 6-0 after the first quarter as Redeemer quarterback Justice Shoats broke off a 64-yard TD run midway through the opening period. The Royals, though, found little offense the rest of the way.
Instead, Hanover Area scored on its final four drives of the first half for a 27-6 lead.
The Hawkeyes scored on the first play of the second quarter when quarterback Aaron Hummer found his cousin, Connor Hummer, for a 23-yard touchdown. Running back Joe Curcio scored on a 19-yard run on the next drive to put Hanover Area up 14-6 at 8:59 of the second.
Curcio, who finished with a career-high 151 yards on 11 carries, capped the next drive with a 5-yard run. The Hummers hooked up again just before halftime as Aaron floated a pass to the goal line to Connor for a 21-yard touchdown.
After Redeemer went on a long but unsuccessful drive to start the third quarter, the Royals struck on their next possession.
Shoats, a freshman who recently became eligible after waiting out the PIAA transfer rule, had his fingerprints all over the score. First, he returned a punt 40 yards to the Hanover Area 5-yard line. Three plays later, he scored on a 1-yard run to cut the deficit to 27-12.
Shoats finished with 163 yards rushing and 49 passing.
“He gives us a chance,” Redeemer coach Dwayne Downing said. “He certainly makes us better. We really haven’t had a chance to work with him, but his potential is certainly off the charts.”
Hanover Area finished off its scoring with two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Aaron Hummer threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Jared Kishbaugh, who twisted off two tackles to complete the score. Peter Hibard added a 2-yard TD run with 9:03 remaining.
Hanover Area 41, Holy Redeemer 12
Hanover Area`0`27`0`14 — 41
Holy Redeemer`6`0`6`0 — 12
HR — Justice Sholts 64 run (kick blocked), 6:34
HA — Connor Hummer 23 pass from Aaron Hummer (Auggie George kick), 11:54
HA — Joe Curcio 19 run (George kick), 8:59
HA — Curcio 5 run (kick failed), 5:15
HA — C.Hummer 21 pass from A.Hummer (George kick), 0:46
HR — Sholts 1 run (kick blocked), 4:06
HA — Jared Kishbaugh 30 pass from Hummer (George kick), 11:51
HA — Peter Hibard 2 run (George kick), 9:02
RUSHING — Hanover Area, James McCabe 4-15, A.Hummer 4-2, Curcio 11-151, Cameron Holeman 2-12, Manny Saldana 2-12, Hibard 7-32, Justin Stefanowicz 1-6, Hunter Karpovich 1-5, team 1-(minus-13). Redeemer, Sholts 17-163, Ryan Williams 1-0, Peter Shay 1-4, Christian Leon 17-0, Joe Colavitti 2-10, team 2-(minus-32).
PASSING —Hanover Area, A.Hummer 8-15-0-144. Redeemer, Sholts 7-13-0-49.
RECEIVING — Hanover Area, Jared Kishbaugh 2-44, Bobby Sabecky 3-56, McCabe 1-0, C.Hummer 2-44. Redeemer, Matt Schuler 1-(minus-1), Chris Pinkowski 2-25, Ethan Stoltz 3-20, Jack Daoud 1-5.
INTERCEPTIONS — none.
MISSED FGs — none.
Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar