Hanover quarterback Dexter Britt fights for yardage (below) against Spartan tacklers Jon Scribner (93) and Taylor Anglemey and celebrates with his teammates (above) in the end zone after scoring on a game-winning 28-yard touchdown run with 27 seconds left in the 24-21 win. (Staff photos by Mark Campbell)
Hanover quarterback Dexter Britt fights for yardage (below) against Spartan tacklers Jon Scribner (93) and Taylor Anglemey and celebrates with his teammates (above) in the end zone after scoring on a game-winning 28-yard touchdown run with 27 seconds left in the 24-21 win. (Staff photos by Mark Campbell)
Quarterback Dexter Britt scored with 27 seconds left to lift Hanover to a 24-21 win over Manchester Saturday at L.S. Ayres Field, the Panthers' fifth-straight victory.

The Panthers, who led 17-0 at halftime, found themselves trailing in the waning moments of the game after Manchester mounted a huge second half comeback.

That was only until Britt led Hanover on a comeback of its own. The senior quarterback from Louisville marched the Panthers down the field and scored on a 28-yard sprint through the Spartans' defense and into the end zone.

Manchester's Riley Ellington missed a game-tying 55-yard field goal at the final horn to clinch the win for the Panthers.

"(Britt) came up big when he needed to," Hanover coach Steve Baudendistel said. "That was another broken play. Dex saw a little pressure, he was able to escape to the strong side and was able to avoid a couple guys and get into the end zone.

Britt threw for 192 yards a touchdown on 12-of- 27 passing but did most his damage on the ground. He rushed for a career-high 155 yards in the game, 55 of which came on the winning drive.

"Those were all broken plays; we had some design runs for him," Baudendistel said. "Those were broken plays but he was able to get away when he needed to. That's where he can really hurt you, on the perimeter if he gets loose."

Defense has carried the Panthers over Hanover's recent winning streak and Saturday was no exception. The Panthers forced three Manchester turnovers, picked up two sacks and held the Spartans to 71 total yards while building a 17-point halftime lead.

Britt kicked off the Hanover scoring with a 62-yard run at the end of the first quarter and Caleb Williams closed the half when he pounced on a fumble in the end zone.

In between, Dylan Dunlop kicked a 21-yard field goal to put the Panthers (5-4, 5-2 Heartland) ahead 17-0.

But a quarterback switch at halftime paid off big for Manchester (2-7, 2-5 HCAC) in the second half. Logan Haston relieved starter Nick Williams and led the Spartans on two scoring drives, the second of which gave the Spartans the lead at 21-17 with 3:35 left in the game.

Haston finished 9-of-12 for 161 yards and a touchdown. Baudendistel wasn't surprised at his success.

"(Haston) plays a lot. It's not like he rides the bench all year. He plays in most of their games," Baudendistel said. "He's a different style quarterback to get ready for. He was able to zip some passes in there. We kind of struggled getting at him. They did a good job protecting him all day. They were able to put some drives together. It all started with our offense stalling. Then we had another turnover in the second half. We just need to stop putting our defense into those positions."

Hanover's defense rallied at the end. Shortly after Britt's go-ahead score, Manchester moved the ball quickly down the field to the Hanover 38-yard line to set up Ellington's last-ditch effort.

The fact that Manchester went for such a long field goal rather than the win surprised the Hanover coach.

"We were drawing up the defense for a safe Hail Mary defense," Baudendistel said. "We were shocked when they lined up. I don't think he hit one that long this year, at least I don't remember. I was very surprised. I kept thinking they were going to fake it or something. It seemed weird they were going to kick it."

Along with his field goal, Dunlop also kicked three extra points and in the process broke Hanover's career kick-scoring record. The senior from Miami, Fla., now has 167 total points, breaking the old mark of 166 set by Dan Farrington (1991-1994).

The victory was Hanover's fifth straight and gives the Panthers momentum heading into next week's regular season finale at home against Franklin in the 57th annual Victory Bell game.

The ninth-ranked Grizzlies come into the game fresh off their first conference loss of the season - in fact their first HCAC loss after winning 31 straight - following a surprising 24-17 upset at Bluffton (3-6, 3-4 HCAC) on Saturday. Franklin finds itself in a first-place tie with Rose-Hulman (both are 6-3, 6-1 HCAC) in the final game of the season.

A conference title and playoff berth are out of the question for Hanover, but the game is still important to the Panthers.

"It means a lot. The difference between 4-6 and being at worst 5-5 is a really big deal," Baudendistel said. "I think what it really shows is, when we were down 0-4 to start the season our guys didn't give up. They easily could have turned it in. The seniors realized how much help we were going to need to win conference and they saw that diminish. They didn't quit. They kept playing and really bounced back and won five-straight games. Hopefully it gives us the momentum we need to play our best next week."

Saturday's Hanover Statistics

at Hanover


MANCHESTER 0 0 7 14 - 21

HANOVER 7 10 0 7 - 24


1st Quarter

HC - Dexter Britt, 62-yard  run (Dylan Dunlop kick), 0:59.

2nd Quarter

HC - Dylan Dunlop, 21-yard field goal, 4:11.

HC - Caleb Williams, 0-yard fumble recovery(Dylan Dunlop kick), 2:22.

3rd Quarter

MU - Nick Williams, 5-yard run (Riley Ellington kick), 1:38.

4th Quarter

MU - Logan Haston, 5-yard run (Riley Ellington kick), 7:34.

MU - Dakato Nelson, 24-yard pass from Logan Haston (Riley Ellington kick), 3:35.

HC - Dexter Britt, 28-yard run (Dylan Dunlop kick), 0:27.


First Downs 18 15

Rushes-Yards 35-88 40-198

Comp-Att-Int 25-36-3 12-27-1

Pass Yards 244 192

Total Yards 332 390

Penalties-Yards 2-10 4-35

Punts-Avg. 4-29.2 3-32

Punt Ret.-Yards 1-0 1-0

Kickoff Ret.-Yards 4-30 4-81

Interceptions-Yards 0-0 2-45-1

Fumbles-Lost 2-1 3-2

Sacks-Yards 3-14 2-15

Time of Possession 31:55 28:05


RUSHING - Manchester, Nick Williams (19-59 TD); Austin Adams (9-17); Logan Haston (3-13 TD); Joe Hunter (2-9); Chris Testolin (1-4); Alex Stock (1-(-14)). Hanover, Dexter Britt (19-155 2 TDs); Timothy Sutton (13-29); Spencer Corrao (7-12); C.J. Taylor (1-2); Caleb Williams (0-0).

PASSING - Manchester, Nick Williams (16-24-3-83); Logan Haston (9-12-0-161 TD). Hanover, Dexter Britt (12-27-1-192).

RECEIVING - Manchester, Dakota Nelson (10-137 TD); Collin Huffine (5-35); Lance Shifferly (4-32); Matt Wirick (3-22); Jarron Jackson (1-10); Austin Adams (2-8). Hanover, Layne Taylor (2-64) Austin Pfenninger (4-49); Tanner Parker (2-33); Timothy Sutton (1-24); Spencer Corrao (2-21); Dontre Woodruff (1-1).

MISSED FIELD GOALS - Manchester, Riley Ellington, 4th, 0:00, 55 yards (short).