HANOVER, Ind. – Fresh off its first Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship in 15 years, the Hanover College football program has released its 2019 season schedule.
The Panthers are coming off a 2018 campaign that saw them go 7-4 overall, including a 7-1 mark in the HCAC. Hanover was part of a three-way tie for first in the league standings and earned the HCAC's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III National Playoffs, both of which were accomplished by the team for the first time since 2003.
There will be plenty of chances to catch the Blue and Red at home this season, as six of the 10 games are slated to be played on C. Wayne Perry Field at Alumni Stadium. Four of HC's first five games will be at home.
Hanover is set to open the slate at home against non-conference rival, Centre (Ky.), Saturday, Sept. 7, during Community Day. The Panthers and Colonels will be meeting in the season opener for the sixth consecutive season. Adrian (Mich.) will then make the trek to Hanover for Week Two, Saturday, Sept. 14, which will be HC Football Alumni Day.
The final non-conference game will come Saturday, Sept. 21, at Maryville (Tenn.). The Blue and Red recently completed a two-year series with the Scots, which concluded in 2017. Hanover will be challenged in its non-conference contests, as Centre and Maryville joined HC in the national playoffs last season and Adrian is less than five years removed from its last national playoff appearance.
The Panthers begin the defense of the HCAC crown when they welcome Bluffton Saturday, Sept. 28. Anderson (Oct. 5), at home, and Defiance (Oct. 12), on the road, follow before the team's bye week. The contest with Anderson will take place during the College's annual Homecoming celebration.
After returning from the bye, Hanover will have to face the remainder of the HCAC's top five finishers in the final 2018 standings. A home date with Manchester, on Hall of Fame Day, begins the stretch Saturday, Oct. 26. Two road games follow on Nov. 2 and 9 at Mount St. Joseph and Rose-Hulman, respectively. Mount St. Joseph was also a co-champion of the HCAC last fall.
The regular season finale will come at home in the 89th Victory Bell Classic with Franklin. The Panthers, who will be celebrating Senior Day, defeated the Grizzlies for the first time since 2004 last season, 23-20 on the road. Franklin was also a part of the three-way tie for first in the 2018 HCAC standings.
The 2019 HCAC champion will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Playoffs, which begin one week after the conclusion of the regular season.
Contact: Tyler Jester