HANOVER TWP. — Hanover Area had been waiting through two long seasons to sing the Alma Mater with its fans on its home grass.
As a blocked kick sent the cheerleaders and the student section rushing onto the field, the Hawkeyes earned their first home victory since Week 5 of the 2016 season.
Hanover Area beat Northwest 37-36 Friday in a slugfest. The Hawkeyes blocked a 20-yard field goal as time expired to end the nine-game home losing streak.
Who blocked the field goal exactly? One player deep in the cluster of celebrating Hawkeye fans spoke for the team.
“All of us did.”
The Hawkeyes came back from a 14-point deficit in the first half. Hanover Area trailed by six points before scoring the winning touchdown with 4:23 remaining in the game.
Hanover Area used a halfback pass to score the go-ahead 34-yard touchdown. Aaron Hummer screened the ball to the left side to halfback Joe Curcio. Curcio rifled a deep ball to Jared Kishbaugh down the sidelines. Kishbaugh caught the pass above his head, nearly tripping over himself as he came down with the ball and skated past the defender to tie the game. Auggie George made his fifth extra point of the night in what proved to be the difference.
“It is the greatest feeling in the world,” Kishbaugh said. “Just seeing that ball in the air and knowing that if I catch this, we take the lead.
“And I caught it. It was amazing. It was the greatest feeling ever.”
Kishbaugh caught five passes for 123 yards with two touchdowns.
Five minutes earlier, Northwest took the lead on a similar halfback pass. Ryan Wassel, who opened the game with a fluke 48-yard fumble return, found Lucas Acornley for 80 yards to take a 36-30 lead over the Hawkeyes.
Hanover Area scored a pair of touchdowns in a 30-second span in the final minute of the first half to take its first lead of the game. Kishbaugh caught a 60-yard touchdown on a slant play with 58 seconds left. James McCabe recovered an onside kick on a squib. Curcio provided Hanover Area with a three-point lead heading into halftime with a 40-yard touchdown run.
After four incompletions to start the game, Hanover Area quarterback Aaron Hummer hit on 12 of 18 passes for 184 yards. He ran for 70 yards.
The Hawkeyes received a break in the second quarter. Charles Stewart sacked Northwest quarterback David Piestrak in the end zone for a safety.
Connor Hazlet caught six passes for 60 yards and ran for a touchdown for the Rangers. David Piestrak threw for 137 yards.
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