Wednesday, 18 July 2018
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Hanover Wildcats Repeat As 8-Man DII State Champs
By Mike Smith
Copyright: MSC Sports

After dominating opponents throughout the regular season the Hanover Wildcats started their path to repeating as 8-Man Division II State Champs had some of their toughest contests in recent memory but accomplished the repeat with a 54-48 win over Hodgeman County in the State title game. 

The State title contest looked like another runaway for the Wildcats as Hanover pounced on Hodgeman County leading 24-0 early in the second quarter. Daiken Stallbaumer notched a 12-yard touchdown run for the first Wildcat score and then tossed 22 and 50-yard touchdowns to Kevin Diederich and Brennan Zabokrtsky. The Longhorns of Hodgeman County did break into the endzone in the second quarter but Stallbaumer punctuated another scoring drive for Hanover before halftime with a one-yard touchdown run making it 32-8 at intermission. 

Both teams found the endzone twice in the third quarter with Hanover overall adding to their lead by two-points as Stallbaumer had a 36-yard interception return for a score and Carter Bruna had a 10-yard touchdown run and it 48-22 entering the fourth stanza. 

Unlike the previous playoff games and plenty of other games during Hanover's dominate run the past few seasons where they finished teams off in the second half Hodgeman County posted a 26-6 fourth quarter to make it tight down the stretch. The Longhorns drew within one score in the final 10 seconds of the game and attempted an onside kick but were unable to recover and Hanover secured the 54-48 win. 

Stallbaumer led the Wildcats going 13-17 for 232 yards with three touchdowns, while rushing for 86 yards with a touchdown on 26 carries and had a pick-six. Diederich snagged four passes for 77 yards with two touchdowns, Zabokrtsky caught four passes for 71 yards with a score and Bruna caught four passes for 61 yards and ran for 58 yards on 13 carries with a score. 

The Wildcats capped the season as 8-Man DII State Champs for the second straight year and finished the season 13-0 winning their 5th State title and extending their win streak to 25 straight. 

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Hiawatha, KS 66434
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