Hanover Central airs it out in preseason HS football scrimmage against North Newton
(Cedar Lake, IN) For its annual preseason IHSAA-sanctioned controlled scrimmage, the Hanover Central football Wildcats hosted North Newton under the lights of the Wildcat Den.
HC head coach Brian Parker had a two-fold game plan for the scrimmage: throw the ball and don’t get anyone hurt.
On a postcard-perfect night, Hanover took the field on offense to start the scrimmage. Senior quarterback Tyler Fruehling came out firing. Seven of Fruehling’s first ten plays under center were pass plays.
Unlike a low-contact scrimmage in late July against Munster, when Fruehling completed 11 of his first 13 passes to six different receivers, the returning starter struggled to find a rhythm against the Spartans. He was just 1-for-7 on the first offensive series. Four of those seven passes were dropped by his receivers.
“We’ve gotta’ start better,” Parker said. “We can’t have a start like that next Friday or we’ll be chasing real early.”
While Parker was disappointed with his team’s slow start, he was optimistic about his offensive line’s performance.
“I thought protection-wise with our starters up front, we were really good,” he said. “We wanted to pass the ball because I wanted to work on some pass protection. I thought we checked that box.”
Each team had an equal number of offensive plays. While North Newton outscored the Wildcats eight touchdowns to four, Parker was encouraged by his starting defense.
“I thought we were really good defensively with our (starters) in the game,” said Parker.
The second series for each team started at the opponent’s ten yard line. The HC defense held firm against the Spartans, holding them out of the end zone for the first five plays.
Hanover scored three TD’s on its short-yardage series, including a 10-yard Adam Graham run and a 10-yard Fruehling-to-Jack Kuiper pass.
“That’s really a part of our game that we’ve worked a lot on in practice,” Parker said. “We weren’t very successful from (short yardage) going in last year so it’s been a point of emphasis and I thought we were really good tonight.”
In the third series, HC found success on the ground. Graham broke free for a 30 yard run, which set up a 5-yard Kyle Haessly TD.
Parker chose to play a lot of backups and JV players, and those players gained some confidence heading into the 2019 campaign. HC tested a new third string QB in sophomore Kyle Hoover, who impressed. On the final defensive series of the night, a group of mostly Hanover junior varsity defenders registered a goal line stand, as well.
While he wanted to get his younger players game night reps, Parker also admitted he wanted to keep his starters fresh for its season opener.
“With a scrimmage, we want to simulate a game situation as much as possible against a quality opponent like North Newton, but one of our main objectives is to get out of this healthy. I think we got a couple of dings but I don’t think we had any major injuries.”
North Newton QB Colin Wagner had a big night against HC. He had three TD runs (33, 2, 30 yards) and threw two more TD passes (11, 35 yards).
The Wildcats open the season this Friday night, hosting East Chicago Central at the Wildcat Den.
Said Parker, “It’s East Chicago Central, it’s a 4A program, and we’re gonna have to get off to a better start.”
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