Hanover Picked to Repeat as HCAC Champs in 2019

Hanover Picked to Repeat as HCAC Champs in 2019

CARMEL, Ind. – The reigning Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Football Champions, Hanover College, are picked to repeat as league leaders in 2019 in a vote of the conference's head coaches as they top the HCAC Football Preseason Poll.

The Panthers earned 60 points, including seven first place votes, putting them eight tallies ahead of the 2017 HCAC champions, Franklin College, who earned 52 votes. Mount St. Joseph University claimed the third spot and one first place vote at 51 points, with just nine points separating the top-three teams.

Hanover boasted one of the region's strongest defenses in 2018 behind HCAC Coach of the year, Matt Theobald. The Panther defense held league lows in scoring defense (15.8 points per game) and total defense (281.8 yards per game). Hanover posted a 7-4 record in 2018, earning their first appearance in the NCAA Division III Football Playoffs since 2003.

The Panthers will look to maintain their defensive stronghold, with a trio of All-Conference First Team selections returning to make stops in 2019. Zikk Omoruyi (Palm Beach, Fla.), Kyle Treber (Mishawka, Ind.) and Dakota Manion (West Lafayette, Ind.) each return to the Red and Blue, combining for 233 tackles, including 22 tackles for loss in the 2018 season.

Franklin and Mount St. Joseph also earned shares of the HCAC regular season title, each posting regular season marks of 8-2 and league records of 7-1. The Grizzlies will see four First Team All-Conference players and two Second Team picks back in action in 2019. Franklin will likely be led by the offensive duo of First Teamers Braden Smith (Mattoon, Ill.) and Jacob Earl (Kingman, Ind.). Smith will be back under center in 2019 for the Grizzlies, where he finished 2018 in the top 10 in Division III in passing yards per game (fourth) and passing yards (seventh). Earl will look to have a strong encore to his 1,000+ yard season of a year ago.

Mount St. Joseph will welcome back five All-Conference selections, and a wealth of offensive firepower, led by quarterback Chaiten Tomlin (Mt. Orab, Ohio). In 2018, the senior had a 64.8 completion percentage for 2,983-yards and 34 touchdowns. He will have several targets in 2019, including Chase Pankey (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Paul Minor (Indianapolis, Ind.), who combined for 825-yards and 12 scores a season ago. 

The 2019 season kicks off with non-conference play on Thursday, September 5.  The first conference game is Thursday, September 19. The final week of the regular season is Saturday, November 16, with the NCAA Tournament following thereafter.

Listed below is the 2019 HCAC Football Preseason Poll and the 2019 HCAC Players to Watch.  For more information on HCAC Football, visit the websites of any of the participating schools, or go to the HCAC's home on the Internet at www.heartlandconf.org.  Be sure to stay up to date on all of your Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference news by following @HCACDIII on Twitter and by liking the "HCAC DIII" Facebook page.



(#) Denotes First Place Votes

1. Hanover 60 pts.
2. Franklin 52 pts.
3. Mount St. Joseph 51 pts.
4. Rose-Hulman 39 pts.
5. Manchester 28 pts.
6. Bluffton 26 pts.
7. Anderson 17 pts.
8. Defiance 15 pts.


2019 HCAC Players to Watch:



Name                                      Class    Hometown                 POS

Kreevon Maple                       SR        Eustis, Fla.                   DB

Charles Keith                           SR        Detroit, Mich.             DB

Reggie Lipscomb                     SO        Indianapolis, Ind.        RB

Zac Tallent                              SO        Lakeland, Fla.              WR

PJ Williams                              SO        Miami, Fla.                  WR

Alex Barnett                            JR         McCordsville, Ind.       WR

Malandric Skipper-Blair          JR         Anderson, Ind.            LB

Chase Fisher                            SR        Cicero, Ind.                  P

Jonny Ovalle                           SR        Burlington, Ind.           RB

Alex Laccabue                         SO        Tampa, Fla.                 QB

Austin Weiland                       SO        La Porte, Ind.               LB



Name                                      Class    Hometown                 POS

Dylan Shaffer                          SR        Shelby, Ohio                LB

Adam Duncan                         SR        Northwood, Ohio        WR

Steph Kosakowski                   JR         Cleveland, Ohio           DB

Brian Coleman                        JR         Toledo, Ohio               DB

Kais Chiles                               JR         Wapakoneta, Ohio      TE

Antonio Crossty                      JR         Wooster, Ohio            DB

Cade McClellan                       JR         Edgerton, Ohio           OL

Keith Holmes                          SO        Toldeo, Ohio               DL



Name                                      Class    Hometown                 POS

Jacob Vorce                             SR        Kalamazoo, Mich.       WR

Jason Santora                          SR        Avon, Ohio                  WR

Braxton Horton                       SR        Dayton, Ohio               DB

Chris Keys                                SR        Pontiac, Mich.             DT

Quantrez Pittman                   SO        Detroit, Mich.             DT

Dominic Fannin                       SO        Wakeman, Ohio          OT

Austin Pearish                         SR        Wawasee, Ind.            DE

Derek Angelone                      SR        Gibsonburg, Ohio        DB/LB



Name                                      Class    Hometown                 POS

Braden Smith                          SR        Mattoon, Ill.                QB

Jacob Earl                                SR        Kingman, Ind.              RB

Joey Siderewicz                       SR        Greenwood, Ind.         WR

Matt Anderson                        SR        Indianapolis, Ind.        OL

Brady Hale                              SR        Monrovia, Ind.            DE

Bryce Hale                               SR        Mondrovia, Ind.          DE

Brayton Shannon                    SR        Fortville, Ind.               LB

John McKinney                       SR        Brownstown, Ind.       DB



Name                                      Class    Hometown                 POS

Jackson Daugherty                  SR        Greenwood, Ind.         Wingback

Zikk Omoruyi                          JR         Palm Peach, Fla.          DL

Kyle Treber                             JR         Mishawaka, Ind.         LB

Taylor Bleistein                       SR        Wesley Chapel, Fla.     WR

Conner Gibson                        SR        Lexington, Ky.             Wingback

Shaune Coane                         JR         Evansville, Ind.            RB

Dakota Manion                       SR        West Lafayette, Ind.   LB

Kaleb Grabert                         SR        Mount Vernon, Ind.    DB

Carson Plessinger                   SR        Alexandria, Ky.            LB



Name                                      Class    Hometown                 POS

Donovan Henderson               JR         Hollywood, Fla.           RB

Conner Bettis                          JR         Rockville, Ind.              OL

Austin Roberts                        SR        Indianapolis, Ind.        WR

Harrington Greer                    JR         South Bend, Ind.         WR

Justin Thomas                         SR        Lowell, Ind.                 LB

Nick Tillmann                          JR         Lawrenceburg, Ind.     DB

Nolan Sipe                               JR         Fort Wayne, Ind.         DL

Alex Downard                         JR         Indianapolis, Ind.        QB


Mount St. Joseph

Name                                      Class    Hometown                 POS

Chaiten Tomlin                       SR        Mt. Orab, OH              QB

Troy Speakman                       JR         Grove City, Ohio         CB/RET

Sean Sullivan                           SR        Covington, Ky.             LB

Chase Pankey                          SR        Cincinnati, Ohio          WR

Spencer Kandra                      SR        Cincinnati, Ohio          DE

Michael Williamson                SR        New Richmond, Ohio  RB

Paul Minor                              JR         Indianapolis, Ind.        TE

Peyton Williams                      SR        Cincinnati, Ohio          S



Name                                      Class    Hometown                 POS

Noah Thomas                          JR         Indianapolis, Ind.        WR

Garrett Wight                         SR        Williamsfield, Ill.         RB

Jack Heyl                                 SR        New Orleans, La.         LB

Andrew Dion                           JR         San Diego, Calif.          QB

Zach Phillips                            SR        Gilbert, Ariz.                DB

Alex Perez                               SR        Grand Rapids, Mich.   DB                  

Bryce Dobbs                            SR        Queen Creek, Ariz.      TE