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Hanover will travel to Frankfort in what will be the fifth meeting between these two Twin Valley League rivals in the past three seasons.
Listen Live to the Hanover Wildcats as they travel to Frankfort with a trip to the 8-Man Division II State Championship on the line.
Pregame 6:45 PM, Kickoff 7:00 PM. Listen Live on Today’s Country 95.5 KNDY and our website/mobile apps.
It could have been the sixth, but their scheduled regular-season game on October 9th was cancelled as Frankfort entered a two-week quarantine period. The Wildcats then had an open date in Week 8 and thus didn’t play for the three weeks leading up to the playoffs. Since Frankfort has returned to the field, the Wildcats have showed now signs of rust having posted playoff win over Lakeside-Downs (60-14), Beloit St. John’s-Tipton (54-43), and Lebo (46-40).
In last week’s quarterfinal, Frankfort outscored Lebo in a tightly-contested game that featured nine lead changes. The Wildcats scored on a 61-yard touchdown pass from Gavin Cornelison to Aiden Gerstner with 5:36 remaining to break a 40-40 tie. Gerstner had a big night in hauling in 125 receiving yards and two scores. Cornelison passed for two scores and rushed for two more, while Ethan Armstrong led the Frankfort ground game with 158 yards and two touchdowns.
For the season, Cornelison has completed 55 percent of his passes for 783 yards and 15 touchdowns and added 764 rushing yards and 12 more scores. He has plenty of big-game experience in last year’s run to the second round of the playoffs which included a win over eventual state runner-up Axtell and a pair of close losses to Hanover.
Armstrong leads the Frankfort ground game with 868 yards and 16 scores, while Gerstner has contributed nearly 350 rushing yards to go along with his team-high 400 receiving yards.
On the other sideline will be another set of Wildcats. Hanover has been one of the dominant eight-man programs in the past decade posting a 112-16 record with three state titles and two runner-up finishes since 2010.
The Wildcats feature a suffocating defense that has allowed only 56 points all season. Jacob Klipp, a returning Kpreps All-State linebacker, again leads the team with 98 tackles including nine for loss. Philip Doebele has added 15 tackles for loss and Keagan Dimler 12 as the Wildcats have lived in the opponent’s backfield.
But as dominant as the Hanover defense has been this season, those same players are just as talented as an offensive unit in averaging more than 54 points per game.
Senior quarterback Jacob Jueneman has had an exceptional year in completing 74 percent of his passes for 984 yards and 17 touchdowns with only a pair of interceptions. Jacob has also rushed for 533 yards and 14 touchdowns – an average of nearly 10 yards per attempt.
When Jacob Jueneman looks to pass, he’s typically found returning all-stater Colin Jueneman, Dimler, or Emmitt Jueneman. Colin Jueneman has 23 catches for 364 yards and five touchdowns, while Dimler has 277 receiving yards and four scores. Emmitt Jueneman has 288 receivng yards and a team-high seven touchdown catches.
Colin Jueneman is second to Jacob in rushing with 524 yards and 12 scores while averaging a whopping 13.8 yards per carry. Tyler Bosner has also scored 12 times on the ground and has totaled 376 yards.
Given the explosiveness of Hanover’s offense, Frankfort will have to play a clean game and convert every opportunity it gets into points. Hanover has been exceptional at forcing turnovers and giving its offense a short field to work with. That was evident in last week’s 42-point first quarter in a blowout win over previously-unbeaten Colony-Crest.
Frankfort is looking for some revenge having lost twice to Hanover in each of the past two seasons. Last year, Frankfort finished 8-2 with both losses coming to the Wildcats. Hanover topped Frankfort 36-32 in the second round of the playoffs.
In fact, this will be the 15th meeting between the two since Frankfort joined the 8-Man ranks in 2008. Hanover holds a 13-1 advantage during that time – including two playoffs wins coming in each of the past two seasons. Hanover has defeated Frankfort twice in each of the past two years. Frankfort’s last win over Hanover came in 2011 – a 44-30 victory during a rare 4-4 year for Hanover. Hanover leads the all-time series 20-15.