By Tris Wykes

CLAREMONT – The side judge had his eyes fixed on Friday’s NHIAA football action when Hanover High defensive coordinator Mike Ivanoksi nearly trampled him into Barnes Park’s dew-soaked turf. 

Flying sideways, the zebra somehow staying on his feet before hurling a flag for sideline interference and a 15-yard penalty. To the gentleman’s credit, he also maintained his sense of humor.

Hanover High’s Moe Kado catches a pass in front of Stevens’ J.J. Tursky (10) and Owen Taylor (11).

“I don’t know who that was, but he hits like a truck,” the side judge told another Marauders assistant a minute or so later. Ivanoski, dutifully contrite, soon issued an apology and faded at least a half-step into the background for the contest’s remainder. 

Hanover’s running attack, including Ivanoski’s crash-test dummy audition, was a force to contend with all night. The Marauders trailed by seven points at halftime but found their ground game after intermission en route to a 32-13 victory.

Junior Seamus Murphy carried 23 times for 146 yards and a touchdown and sophomore Ben Williams received eight handoffs and piled up 118 yards and two touchdowns. Junior quarterback Colin Pierce also ran for a touchdown.

Senior Moe Kado chipped in with 27 yards in six carries and the visitors rumbled for 317 yards to Stevens’ 57. The Cardinals amassed 130 yards passing to Hanover’s 81, but were hamstrung when senior receiver J.J. Tursky missed most of the fourth quarter while injured.

“We came out really flat and I don’t know why,” said Hanover coach Sam Cavallaro, whose 2-0 team routed Fall Mountain last week. “We’re a young group, with only three senior starters, and this was the first time this season they’d hit some adversity. They shut down a little.”

Hanover High’s Seamus Murphy runs Friday. Stevens defenders Owen Taylor (11) and Lucas Smith (57) close in.

Stevens (0-2) punted on the game’s opening possession and Williams, playing only his fifth varsity game, returned it 42 yards. Murphy lost a fumble at the Cardinals’ 2-yard line five plays later, but the hosts wound up punting a second time.

Hanover drove 55 yards in seven plays and took a 6-0 lead seconds into the second quarter on Pierce’s 1-yard run. A running attempt for the 2-point conversion failed. 

Stevens punted for a third consecutive time but forced a subsequent Marauders boot and marched 58 yards in 11 plays. Senior quarterback Owen Taylor threw to Tursky for a 20-yard touchdown and Clayton Wadsworth’s extra point gave the Cardinals a 7-6 lead a minute before halftime.

Williams returned the ensuing kickoff 28 yards and Hanover started its drive at its 42-yard line with 54 seconds remaining in the second quarter. On third-and-12 from the Stevens’ 49-yard line, however, Wadsworth intercepted a Pierce pass and returned 63 yards for a touchdown. The kick failed and the hosts led, 13-6, with only 17 seconds remaining in the half.

Hanover’s fortunes brightened on its second snap after taking the second-half kickoff. Williams broke away for a 63-yard touchdown. A conversion run attempt failed but the visitors were within 13-12.

“That was Ben at 100 percent and when he goes hard, he’s as good as it gets in this state,” Cavallaro said. “Because he was hurt for most of last season, he’s still figuring things out.”

Stevens drove to midfield on its next possession. Pascal Lemieux broke off a 25-yard run from there, but lost a fumble at Hanover’s 21-yard line, a play Cavallaro thought was the game’s tipping point.

The Marauders scored seven plays later on a 1-yard Williams run and Erik Blix added the extra point for a 19-13 lead with five minutes remaining in the third quarter. Stevens turned the ball over on downs during its next possession and the Marauders pounced.

Hanover drove 48 yards in nine plays, all of them runs, with Murphy crashing into the end zone from a yard. A pass on the conversion attempt failed and the Marauders led, 25-13 with 7 minutes and 27 seconds to play.

Stevens needed to take to the air, but with Tursky out, Taylor had a pass intercepted and returned 49 yards by Murphy. Six plays later, he ran 8 yards for a touchdown and Blix added the extra point to close the night’s scoring with two minutes to go.

Hanover High head football coach Sam Cavallaro speaks with his assistants at halftime.

Hanover’s Pierce completed 3 of 6 passes for 81 yards and had one toss intercepted. Senior tight end and first-year football player William Cahoon, previously a golf team member, caught two passes for 70 yards. Hanover committed eight penalties for 95 yards.

Stevens’ Taylor completed 8 of 15 passes for 130 yards with a touchdown and had a pass intercepted. Tursky caught five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. Lemieux carried seven times for 52 yards.

Hanover hosts Mascoma (0-2) next week while Stevens is off.

Notes: The game’s start was delayed several minutes because the officiating crew was still en route after working the afternoon’s Mascoma vs. Fall Mountain contest… Muscle cramps were an issue for both teams. Williams one of the victims. He missed the last half of Hanover’s final scoring drive… Hanover and Stevens first played in 1931, a 19-0 Cardinals shutout. The Marauders hold a 22-9-1 series lead and have won the last six meetings and 10 of the last 12 dating back to 1998… Marauders assistant Les Lawrence served stints as the head coach at both schools… Stevens’ four-game regular season schedule is the shortest it’s played since going 2-2 in 1904.

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Stevens High’s Clayton Wadsworth absorbs a Danny Pitiger tackle. Hanover’s Taj Bagnato (28) and Erik Blix (23) look on.