HC 8th grade gridders making the grade
BY Mark Smith firstname.lastname@example.org September 18, 2012 1:32PM
Hanover Central's Wes Bultema is brought down by a Bowman player during a game on Saturday, September 14, 2012, in Cedar Lake. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media
Hanover 38, Bowman Academy 6
BOWMAN ACADEMY (0-1) 0 - 0 - 0 - 6 == 6
HANOVER CENTRAL (2-1) 14 - 16 - 8 - 0 == 38
9-15-12, 78 degrees in Cedar Lake
HC (8-0) Ethan Collins recovered fumble in end zone. Donovan Moran kick
HC (14-0) Vince Loggins, 6-yard run. Kick blocked. 4:31.
HC (22-0) Will Gregory, 67-yard run. Donovan Moran kick. 9:30
HC (30-0) Will Gregory, 31-yard run. Donovan Moran kick. 4:31.
HC (38-0) Will Gregory, 51-yard run. Donovan Moran 6:49
BOWMAN (38-8) VInce Jones, 2-yard run. 2-point run failed. 2:38
2012 HANOVER CENTRAL (2-1)
Middle School football - Coach Robert Harrison - all games at home
8-23 (L) 14-35 Kahler Middle School
9-5 (W) 30-15 Grimmer Middle School
9-15 (W) 48-6 Bowman Academy
9-18 (late Wed.) Rensselaer Middle School
9-26 (Wed.) North Newton Junior high - 5 p.m.
10-2 (Tues.) Kankakee Valley Middle School - 5 p.m.
10-9 (Tues.) River Forest Junior high - 5 p.m.
Updated: September 20, 2012 1:25PM
CEDAR LAKE — They’re going to make it.
There is going to be varsity football at Hanover Central High School in three years, just like they planned it.
That’s the main thing I got out of my second Hanover Middle School football game Saturday afternoon behind the high school.
HC football is going well enough to make it through this inaugural season and that means there will be varsity football at Hanover Central High School in the fall of 2015.
Those at the school may have been sure, but, after the opening game on Aug. 25, it wasn’t obvious to outsiders.
It didn’t matter that Hanover beat Bowman Academy 48-6 Saturday in front of a smaller crowd than saw the opener against Kahler last month.
It wasn’t about Hanover winning easily. Bowman hadn’t had many practices and only agreed to the game three days earlier as a substitute for East Chicago’s Block Junior High, which reportedly didn’t have enough equipment to start the season.
I saw two things. Against Kahler, Hanover had 28 players on the roster and 22 in uniform. When I showed up Saturday for the HC-Bowman game, Hanover still had 22 players in uniform. The roster stabilized and HC will obviously be able to finish the season.
“It’s a lot better,” said coach Rich Patterson. “We had two players who were out the whole year. They won’t be back. But everybody else is healthy now.”
Hanover ran plays crisply and the boys didn’t wear down too much in the heat. Scoring a few touchdowns in front of a cheering group of parents and friends of the program didn’t hurt.
Three weeks after the first game, the team was midway through its initial schedule and the idea of Hanover Central football was becoming normal to the community.
Next year, the boys playing now will be high school freshmen, and they will be joined by any boys who will be sophomores and juniors in the fall of 2013 who wish to try out.
Talk around Hanover is: More than one middle school boy didn’t think football would actually be played this year and will be coming out for the team in 2013.
“I hear that all the time,” Patterson agreed. “When we orginally had this idea of starting football again, a lot of kids have heard that before. They didn’t buy it. But I told them. ‘No, guys, this is real this time. I’m not going to stop until we’re playing for real.’ Now a lot of kids who come to the games and even if they don’t, they hear about it in the hallways at school. They want to play. Next year the numbers are going to skyrocket. I really think so.”
Patterson and his staff have a decision to make next season when there are two HC teams (middle school and high school JV) but he says there’s no debate.
“Technically, there isn’t a high school program yet,” he said. “So, I’m the middle school coach right now. But I intend to follow this group (the HC boys are all 8th graders) all the way up to the varsity.
“We’re going to offer it to the whole school and we won’t get many seniors because they won’t ever get to play varsity. But the kids who are freshmen at the high school now, they played spring football with these (8th grade) kids here. So we’ll get a lot of them back.”
The second positive Saturday was the opponent. It’s not that East Chicago would have been lesser than Bowman Academy.
HC is not going to play Lake Central, Crown Point or East Chicago in varsity football in our lifetime. But Bowman and can be a future foe of Hanover in football for years to come. The first meeting went well and Bowman reportedly agreed to come back next season.
The relationships built up between schools do matter because a small school the size of HC can’t get onto many school’s schedules.
Bowman can be a perennial quality opponent for for Hanover.
HANOVER NOTES: Bowman Academy did Hanover a big favor by agreeing to the game on short notice. East Chicago cancelled Wednesday and Bowman said they needed games and made the trip and even brought about 50 fans.
Even though HC isn’t going to be playing Saturday games very often moving froward, Hanover coach Rich Patterson said that Hanover’s Saturday afternoon game was pleasant.
“It was a good day. The boys can come and play. They don’t have to worry about anything else,” he said. “It was good for the parents, too. Really a perfect day.”
There has been some confusion because what Hanover would be in 2015 isn’t certain. Right now, Hanover would be a 2A school in footbal even though they are 3A in every other sport.
But football teams are classified for playoff class by the IHSAA every two years. What HC is now (they have about 650 students) might not be what they wil be in 2015.
One of the things about middle school football is that nobody keeps trcak of statistics, at least not at Hanover as of yet.
But Hanover’s Will Gregory probably gained about 200 yards rushing in the win over Bowman.
One of the growing pains at Hanover for football is that there is no grandstand at the old field behind the school so there can be announcers booth atop the stands.
The timekeepr sits at field level and often can’t see the field because of the coaches and players who walk in front of her.
One of the oddities of middle school football is that an extra point kick counts two points and a conversion run after a touchdown counts just one point. The idea is to encourage teams to develop placekickers.
Hanover will probably schedule Bowman Academy in junior varsity play next season after the first meeting last week. Bowman has had varsity football for just five years and they had at least 35 players in uniform.
“We’re going to try to schedue Bowman next year” said Patterson. “We already have a date on the schedule and I think that’ll be a possible nonconference varsity game eventually.”
It’s difficult to get on an established school’s varsity schedule but it’s not so hard to get a JV or freshman matchup.
Since Hanover is only going to be able to have JV football the next two seasons, the Hanover high JV schedule might include names like Crown Point.
“I think we’re going to try to do that,” said Patterson. “Crown Point freshman and Lake Central freshmen. Hopefully we can put a good product on the field.”
Bowman Academy may have agreed to come to HC on short notice because Bowman also plays in the Hanover girls basketball Winter Classic and the relationship between the two schools had already been initiated.
There will be two changes in the HC basketball holiday tournament. Oregon-Davis and Bishop Noll are out (O-D wanted to play in a South Bend tournament) while Beecher, Ill and probably Class 4A Morton are in.
Griffith, Whiting and defending champion Wheeler will be back.
Beecher has scheduled Hanover in baseball and softball for over a decade and Hanover and Beecher used to partcipate in the Momence (Ill.) Holiday tournament.
Hanover’s boys are tenatively scheduled to travel to the Hamilton Heights Holiday tournament on Friday, Dec. 28 where they will play the Roncalli Rebels from Indianapolis. Roncalli is 100-31 in the last six seasons.