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Hancock Football team takes on yet one more state-ranked team

Braving the weather. The Hancock cheerleaders (left to right) Hannah Collins, Kathryn Newhouse, Maggie Hacker and Heidi Cramlet present the flag during the pre-game of the Hancock-Verndale game bundled up for the weather, as it rained the entire game, with the temperature hovering around 40 degrees. Photos by Gregg Cunningham

By Matt Hone

The Hancock Owls football took on the state's No. 3-ranked Verndale Pirates and fell 64 - 12 on a rainy night in Hancock on Oct. 14.

The Owls fell to 1-6 overall this season.

The first quarter began with Hancock kicking off to the Pirates. Verndale took their first possession the length of the field and opened the scoring with a 45 yard touchdown run. With the successful 2-point conversion, the score was 8-0.

The Owls were held to a punt on their first try on offense, but a Verndale fumble on the return, recovered by Austin Steege, gave the Owls new life. Working with a short field, the Owls capped their drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Drew Schmidgall to Brendon Foss. Hancock couldn't complete the two point conversion and Verndale held an 8-6 lead.

Hancock's luck continued when Wade Feuchtenberger picked off a Verndale pass on the next possession. Momentum quickly went back in favor of the Pirates, though, as Hancock turned the ball over on a fumble. Now it was Verndale's turn to play on the short field. The Pirates extended their lead thanks to a 2-yard touchdown run. A failed two point try set the score at 14-6.

Hancock threw an interception at the end of the first quarter. Verndale took that turnover and would struck first in the second quarter on a 15 yard touchdown run. The conversion attempt failed but Verndale led 22-6.

The next Owl possession again ended with an interception. Verndale pounded the ball down the field and found success with a 5-yard touchdown run. The two point conversion now made the score 30-6. Hancock never could quite gain momentum to their side as the next Owls try would end in a fumble. Verndale showed off its passing game with a 35-yard touchdown pass following the turnover. The conversion attempt failed, but the score had quickly become 36-6.

The pattern continued as the Owls committed their fifth turnover of the night with another interception. Verndale capitalized once again before half on a 3-yard touchdown run. The conversion attempt failed and the score went to 42-6. Hancock took its last drive of the half down the field, but couldn't score as the first half ended.

The Owls took the ball to start the third quarter and started quickly. Drew Schmidgall once again connected with Brendon Foss, this time on a 62-yard touchdown pass. Hancock couldn't complete the 2-point conversion and the score was 42-12.

But Verndale again squashed any hope of a momentum swing, returning ensuing kick off 80 yards for another touchdown. The Pirates added the 2-point conversion, driving the score to 50-12.

The Owls turned over the ball on a fumble in their next possession. Verndale returned the favor as they fumbled the ball back to the Owls on its next possession. The Owls drove the ball down and threatened to score again but the Pirates intercepted an Owls pass in the end zone to stifle the Hancock threat. Verndale responded with a 60-yard touchdown run and another 2-point conversion made the score 58-12.

Verndale's final score came on a 43 yard touchdown run following another Owls fumble. The 2-point conversion failed and the final score was set at 64-12.

Both teams finished out the fourth quarter with younger players gaining valuable experience. It was a night of eleven turnovers, eight of which were committed by the Owls.

"The Pirates are a quality football program and Wednesday night was their night," said Owls coach Matt Hone.