Hanover Central pulls away from East Chicago to kickoff 2019 season
August 23, 2019
special to the Lowell Tribune
(Cedar Lake) The Hanover Central football Wildcats (1-0) found themselves in a first half battle against East Chicago Central, but never trailed and pulled away from the Cardinals late in a 34-6 win at the Wildcat Den to kickoff the 2019 season.
It was Hanover’s first win over an IHSAA Class 4A football team in school history.
ECC (0-1) received the kickoff and promptly drove 81 yards to the Wildcat 1. But the HC defense held strong on 4th and goal, bringing the hometown crowd to its feet.
Senior QB Tyler Fruehling and senior WR/DB Jack Kuiper sparked an offense that was slow to start.
After a scoreless first quarter, Fruehling found a streaking Bryan Hoover across the middle for a 41 yard TD pass, giving HC a 6-0 lead at the 9:02 mark (XP blocked).
On the ensuing ECC possession, Kuiper snagged his first of two interceptions. The next Wildcat drive would stall, leading to a 64 yard East Chicago TD drive to tie the game at 6 with 4:52 to go in the first half (XP failed).
Soon after, junior Adam Graham went high and hauled in a 21 yard TD catch from Fruehling, capping a 63 yard scoring drive (Sergio Felix XP good) to make it 13-6 with 1:51 in the 2nd quarter.
ECC responded with a late first half drive that stalled when Kuiper picked off his second ECC pass. The Cats took the 13-6 lead into the locker room.
The HC defense stymied the Cardinals in the second half, holding them to just 39 total yards while keeping the visitors out of the end zone.
With 2:09 in the 3rd, Fruehling found Kuiper for a 24 yard leaping grab in the end zone for Fruehling’s third TD pass of the night.
After recovering a botched punt snap at the Cardinal 2 yard line, Fruehling added a 1 yard rushing TD to his stat line early in the fourth quarter.
Fruehling finished with four TD’s: three passing and one rushing.
Kuiper had a big night on both sides of the ball: in addition to his 2 interceptions, he had 94 yards receiving and a TD catch.
Five different Wildcats found the end zone, with backup QB Blaze Cano capping the Hanover scoring with a nice 18 yard TD run with 4:32 to go in the game (Felix XP good), giving HC its final tally 34-6.
A gritty Wildcat defense was led by Max Warchol’s 12 tackles. DL Austin Vankley added 8 tackles and .5 sack. DE James Kelly had 1.5 sacks.
The Wildcats visit perennial state power Andrean on Friday, August 30. The 59ers are ranked 4th in the AP IHSAA Class 2A poll, but fell to Merrillville 48-20 Friday night.
For complete coverage of Hanover Central’s Week 1 win over East Chicago Central, pick up a copy of the Lowell Tribune. Look for it at newsstands Wednesday.
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Stats courtesy Adam Noel, Hanover Central football statistician