Franklin put on a powerful offensive display to defeat rival Hanover 58-29 to retain the Victory Bell for the eighth-straight year and claim the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference title Saturday at home.

The Grizzlies, ranked 21st in NCAA Division III, amassed 504 yards of offense, including 315 through the air. At one point scored, Franklin scored 42 unanswered points to earn the HCAC's automatic berth to the playoffs.

"They're a good football team. They are way better than us up front," Hanover coach Steve Baudendistel said. "Their athletes are better skilled position guys. They're just a better football team than us. We didn't do anything to help ourselves out early in the ballgame. The two keys for us coming into today were to take care of the football and don't give up the big play. We didn't do either of those things today."

Hanover (6-4, 6-2 HCAC) got off to a great start. The Panthers forced Franklin to go three and out on its opening drive and then marched down the field and scored a touchdown when Dexter Britt connected with Daniel Passafiume on a 4-yard scoring pass. Sophomore Spencer Corroa ran in the conversion for the early 8-0 lead.

"It started out the way we wanted it to," Baudendistel said. "Scoring first and getting the two-point conversion was big for us. Then we let them have the big play, we turned the ball over and they scored again and we tried to play catch up after that."

Franklin (8-2, 8-0 HCAC) scored on its next six possessions and in a blink of an eye, the Panthers were down 42-8. The Grizzlies forced four turnovers in the first half to put the game away early.

Britt was intercepted three times and had a fumble although he did finish a respectable 28-for-36 passing for 283 yards. He finished the season with 31 touchdown passes.

Like they did earlier this year and last week the Panthers mounted a comeback, scoring on their opening possession of the second half when Britt ran the ball in from eight yards out to make the score 45-21 with 11 minutes left in the third quarter. This time however the hole was too big to climb out of.

"What I told the guys at halftime was the only chance at a comeback would be for us to do everything right," Baudendistel said." Keep fighting, keep battling. Play together. The guys did that all year. We never had a lot of finger pointing. The guys believed in themselves and each other. That says a lot for our character."

The Panthers scored a couple of times in the third quarter. The last score was by senior Daniel Passafiume who hauled in a 41-yard bomb from Britt.

Passafiume, playing in his final collegiate game, finished with seven catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns. He ends his record-setting career with 344 catches - good for fifth place in NCAA history (all divisions) - and will graduate as Hanover's career leader in receiving yards (3,485), touchdowns (39) and the most catches in a game (25), the latter also a NCAA all-divisions record.

"(Passafiume's) a great player," Baudendistel said. "Daniel really set the bar high for future receivers at Hanover. He and the rest of the seniors really helped bring back Hanover College football."  

Senior linebacker Andy Dalton and junior linebacker Justin Magaw each had 11 tackles to lead the defense. Dalton finished with nine solo tackles in the game, and will end his career with 423 tackles to rank third among the Panthers' all-time leaders.

The two teams combined for more than 800 yards of offense and the 87 points scored in the game is the most points in series history.

Despite the loss, Hanover still leads the overall series 42-37-3 and leads the Victory Bell series, which dates to 1938, 35-21. Howeverm the Panthers have not won the Bell since 2004.

Hanover closes the season with six wins, the most for a first-year Hanover coach since Raymond Struck won six in 1951.

Franklin travels to Adrian (Mich.) in the opening round of the NCAA Division III playoffs on Saturday.


Saturday's Hanover Statsitics

at Franklin


HANOVER 8 6 15 0 - 29

FRANKLIN 14 31 6 7 - 58


1st Quarter

Han - Daniel Passafiume, 4-yard pass from Dexter Britt (Spencer Corroa run), 12:22.

Fra - Luke Hamm, 14-yard pass from Jonny West (Cole Richards kick), 10:23.

Fra - Kyle Holzbog, 4-yard pass from Jonny West (Cole Richards kick), 7:03.

2nd Quarter

Fra - Ben Hamlin, 7-yard pass from Jonny West (Cole Richards kick), 14:56.

Fra - Grant Welp, 17-yard run (Cole Richards kick), 11:43.

Fra - Jonny West, 1-yard run (Cole Richards kick), 7:42.

Fra - Kyle Linville, 9-yard pass from Jonny West (Cole Richards kick), 3:56.

Han - Jacob Noger, 17-yard pass from Dexter Britt (pass failed), 0:41.

Fra - Cole Richards, 26-yard field goal 0:01.

3rd Quarter

Han - Dexter Britt, 8-yard run (Dylan Dunlop kick), 11:27.

Fra - Kyle Linville, 1-yard pass from Jonny West (Cole Richards kick), 8:12.

Han - Daniel Passafiume, 41-yard pass from Dexter Britt (Jacob Noger pass from Jake Allgood), 4:54.

4th Quarter

Fra - Joey Pasquale, 6-yard run (Cole Richards kick), 14:21.

Han Fra

First Downs 23 28               

Rushes-Yards 28-34 46-189

Comp-Att-Int 28-36-3 29-43-0

Pass Yards 283 315

Total Yards 317 504

Penalties-Yards 9-63 11-102

Punts-Avg. 3-48.3 2-32

Punt Ret.-Yards 0-0 0-0

Kickoff Ret.-Yards 7-129 4-77

Interceptions-Yards 0-0 3-73

Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0

Sacks-Yards 2-19 7-42

Time of Possession 26:23 33:37



RUSHING - Hanover, Spencer Corrao (7-25), Dexter Britt (19-10, TD), Colton Zeck (1-0), Josh Green (1-(-1)). Franklin, Luke Hamm (9-54), Joey Pasquale (11-47, TD), Jonny West (11-36, TD), Grant Welp (4-33, TD), Micah Hatch (4-12), Cody Hess (4-5), Sam Otley (2-4) Kyle Holzbog (1-(-2)).

PASSING - Hanover, Dexter Britt (28-36-3, 283 yards, 3 TDs). Franklin, Jonny West (29-43-0, 315 yards, TD).

RECEIVING - Hanover, Spencer Corrao (9-84), Daniel Passafiume (7-89, 2 TDs), Colton Zeck (6-36), Shawn Gibson (2-35), Dwayne Eubanks (2-10), Jacob Noger (1-17, TD), Timothy Sutton (1-12). Franklin, Kyle Linville (9-128, 2 TDs), Ben Hamlin (7-96, TD), Luke Hamm (6-52, TD), Ty Fischbach (2-12), Zack Corpe (1-10), Connor Houston (1-6), Jame Vaughn (1-5), Kyle Holzbog (1-4, TD), Ethan Cook (1-2).