Hanover quarterback Dexter Britt was 26-of-34 passing for 262 yards and three TDs while rushing for 64 yards and two scores. (Courier file photo by Mark Campbell)
Hanover quarterback Dexter Britt was 26-of-34 passing for 262 yards and three TDs while rushing for 64 yards and two scores. (Courier file photo by Mark Campbell)
BLUFFTON, Ohio - Hanover used a big second half surge to beat Bluffton (Ohio) 40-13 on Saturday for the Panthers' seventh consecutive win over the Beavers.

Hanover outscored Bluffton 26-3 in the second half to extend its winning streak to four games and remain undefeated in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic conference.

"It was big. I think what's even bigger is the fact the second half didn't start out great for us. We didn't move the ball very well offensively," Hanover coach Steve Baudendistel said. "We stopped them, then fumbled a punt. It didn't start out well for the guys, but the guys stayed together. They knew what they're supposed to do and it paid off for us."

Bluffton (4-3, 3-2 HCAC) scored on the game's opening possession and led 3-0. The Panthers fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Beavers recovered, driving to the Panthers' 2-yard line before being kept out of the end zone when the Panthers denied Buffton on fourth and goal.

Still, the Beavers had an early 10-0 lead in the second quarter before the Panthers started their comeback.

"We started sloppy, made some mistakes we shouldn't have and let them get up 10 points," Baudendistel said. "Maybe because it's the travel, maybe it's the field, guys not getting used to it, I'm not sure. We just started out sloppy. But once we figured it out, I thought we rolled pretty well."

The Panthers (4-2, 4-0 HCAC) finally got on the scoreboard when Daniel Passafiume hauled in a 5-yard touchdown pass from Dexter Britt to cut the margin to 10-7 with 8:12 left in the first half.

Hanover then forced a Bluffton fumble deep in its own territory with 1:30 left before halftime and six plays later Britt ran the ball in from eight yards out to put the Panthers ahead 14-10.

Hanover led 14-13 midway through the third quarter but then scored touchdowns on its next four possessions to put the game away.

The first score was by Britt, who scampered 10 yards for the touchdown. Shawn Gibson then caught a one-yard touchdown pass from Britt just before the third quarter ended. Dwayne Eubanks then hauled in a 16-yard touchdown pass from Britt early in the fourth quarter and the rout was on.

Senior wide receiver Colton Zeck put the final nail in the Beavers' coffin with a nine-yard touchdown run with 8:44 left in the game.

Britt finished the game 26-of-34 passing for 262 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for two more scores and led the Panthers on the ground with 64 yards.

Passafiume had 10 catches for 92 yards and a touchdown.

"(Britt) played really well. There's still some work he needs to do," Baudendistel said. "There's still some times I think he's trying to force things and he needs to run the ball a little bit more. That stuff he'll be able to see on film and the coaches will point it out to him and I think it'll click for him."

The Panthers limited the Beavers to just 66 rushing yards, an impressive performance against a team that averaged 180 per game coming in. Hanover also forced three turnovers, had six sacks and held Bluffton to just 1-of-12 on third down.

"We brought pressure. We knew stopping the run was going to be our game plan," Baudendistel said. "I think the big thing was we stopped the run. Particularly in the second half on first downs. We knew they were going to go vertical and they did hit us on one vertical. It was a missed assignment on the defensive back but other than that we kept the verticals in check and were able to stop them on running the ball on first downs and that kind of set everything up on offense."

Hanover returns home Saturday to take on Defiance (2-5, 2-3 HCAC). Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.

Saturday's Hanover Statistics

at Bluffton, Ohio

HANOVER 40, BLUFFTON 13



HANOVER 0 14 13 13 - 40

BLUFFTON 3 7 3 0 - 13



SUMMARY

1st Quarter

Bluf - Austin Sweeney, 37-yard field goal, 9:33.

2nd Quarter

Bluf - Ryan Sabin, 75-yard pass from Nicholas Sheehan (Austin Sweeney kick), 11:52.

Han - Daniel Passafiume, 5-yard pass from Dexter Britt (kick failed), 8:12.

Han - Dexter Britt, 8-yard run (Dylan Dunlop kick), 1:31.

3rd Quarter

Buf - Austin Sweeney, 32-yard field goal, 9:16.

Han - Dexter Britt, 10-yard run (kick failed), 5:35.

Han - Shawn Gibson, 1-yard pass from Dexter Britt (Chris Blankman kick), 2:05.

4th Quarter

Han - Dwayne Eubanks, 16-yard pass from Dexter Britt (kick failed), 14:55.

Han - Colton Zeck, 9-yard run (Chris Blankman kick), 8:44.

Han Bluf

First Downs 24 15

Rushes-Yards 42-175 33-66

Comp-Att-Int 26-35-0 15-31-2

Pass Yards 262 248

Total Yards 437 314

Penalties-Yards 5-45 4-35

Punts-Avg. 4-43.8 6-38.3

Punt Ret.-Yards 3-10 1-8

Kickoff Ret.-Yards 3-31 5-54

Interceptions-Yards 2-22 0-0

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0

Sacks-Yards 6-20 1-11

Time of Possession 32:19 27:41

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING - Hanover, Dexter Britt (12-64 2 TDs), Spencer Corrao (17-62), Tim Sutton (3-28), C.J. Taylor (5-14), Colton Zeck (2-11, TD), Team (3-(-4)). Bluffton, Airic Steagall (16-37), Jason Brown (4-34), Calib Alexander (5-9), Nicholas Sheehan (8-17).

PASSING - Hanover-Dexter Britt (26-34-0, 262 yards 3 TDs), Tanner Parker (0-1-0). Bluffton, Nicholas Sheehan (15-30-2, 248 yards, TD), Team (0-1-0).

RECEIVING - Hanover, Daniel Passfiume (10-92, TD), Shawn Gibson (7-89, TD), Spencer Corrao (4-39), Colton Zeck (3-23), Dwayne Eubanks (1-16, TD), Jacob Noger (1-3). Bluffton, Donovan Brown (6-68), Ryan Sabin (4-115, TD), Shawn Frost (3-47), Christian Sewell (1-10), Javelle Eaton (1-8).

MISSED FIELD GOALS - Bluffton, Austin Sweeney, 1st, 3:15, 32 (WL).