HANOVER TWP. — Hanover Area needed one more big play and the guy who provided many Friday night provided one more.
Elido Veras ran 14 yards on a third-and-10 play with less than a minute remaining, sealing the Hawkeyes’ 42-36 victory over Meyers in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2A-A game.
“I was just thinking about getting the first down,” said Veras, who zipped around left end to the 50-yard line. “I’ll do anything for my team.”
Veras did about everything, including catching touchdown passes of 57 and 33 yards from Jake Peters, and breaking up a Meyers two-point conversion pass with 1:52 remaining. But it was his daring punt returns that were eye opening. Twice he fielded punts while surrounded by Meyers defenders and darted through for long returns. The last one — a 54-yarder — set up the Hawkeyes (3-3) at the Meyers’ 21-yard line late in the third quarter.
Five plays later, running back Isaiah Taylor scored his third rushing touchdown of the game for a 42-30 lead.
“Hey, I like to run,” Veras said about his gambling style on the returns.
Meyers’ Matt DeMarco also likes to run as well. The WVC’s top rushing quarterback had a big game, ripping off touchdown runs of 47, 73 and 8 yards — with the last two turning a 26-14 deficit into a 30-26 lead at 5:24 of the third quarter.
Eight plays after DeMarco’s third TD run, he injured his right ankle and headed for the sideline. He returned briefly, but was unable to continue. He finished with a career-high 215 rushing yards on 22 carries.
“You’re going up against one of the premier athletes in the league in Matt DeMarco,” said Hanover Area assistant coach Brian McDermott. Head coach Ron Hummer wasn’t made available after the game. “All we’re trying to do it contain him. We had one heck of the time trying to simulate what he could do on offense against our defense in practice.”
The loss of DeMarco was huge for Meyers (2-4). But so were a couple other things — turnovers and penalties. The Mohawks turned over the ball five times, and a penalty negated a nifty 80-yard punt return touchdown by Zahir Dunell in the first quarter.
“We had that beautiful punt return and because of the trash talking all week long (somebody) wanted to get a cheap shot and we got caught,” Meyers coach Corry Hanson said. “We told the players before the game ‘Let the talking happen on the field. Don’t cheap shot. Don’t run your mouth.’ We got a 15-yarder for running our mouths.”
That 15-yard penalty was for unsportsmanlike conduct, one of two given to Meyers after a first-quarter play. Hanover Area also received one after the play, and the referee ended up on the ground after he tried to intervene.
The first score of the game came at 9:57 of the first quarter when Terry Eyerman blocked a Hanover Area punt and Raheem Twyman picked up the loose ball and ran in from 18 yards out. DeMarco’s first touchdown run and Mark Robinson’s ensuing two-point conversion run game Meyers a 14-0 lead at 7:52 of the first.
Hanover Area then scored the next 26 points — two TDs coming on Veras’ catches and two more on a 73-yard kick return and a 1-yard run by Taylor.
Hanover Area 42, Meyers 36
MEY — Raheem Twyman 18 blocked punt return (run failed), 9:57
MEY — Matt DeMarco 47 run (Mark Robinson run), 7:52
HA — Isaiah Taylor 73 kick return (kick failed), 7:41
HA — Taylor 1 run (pass failed), 6:26
HA — Elido Veras 57 pass from Jake Peters (run failed), 0:51
HA — Elido Veras 33 pass from Peters (Peters run), 9:28
MEY — DeMarco 72 run (Jacob Brominski from DeMarco), 1:59
MEY — DeMarco 8 run (Robinson run), 5:24
HA — Taylor 37 run (Veras from Peters), 4:27
HA — Taylor 8 run (Stephen Morgan from Peters), 9:58
MEY — Zahir Dunell 4 run (pass failed), 1:52
Team statistics`Meyers`Han Area
RUSHING — Meyers, DeMarco 22-215, Nate Mahalak 15-36, Robinson 5-35, Dunell 6-13. Hanover Area, Taylor 17-84, Mike Kremenic 9-42, Veras 6-46, Peters 2-(minus-2), team 1-0.
PASSING — Meyers, DeMarco 2-7-2-16, Dunell 0-1-1-0. Hanover Area, Peters 2-10-0-90.
RECEIVING — Meyers, Robinson 1-10, Tyon Thomas 1-6. Hanover Area, Veras 2-90.
INTERCEPTIONS — Hanover Area, DJ Linker 2-17, Veras 1-0.
MISSED FGs — None.