Notable alumni making it big

John Proctor

With the return of school comes the return of Friday night lights, or more commonly known as high school football. The smell of hot dogs and burgers and French fries, the sounds of blaring band music, cheering fans, the clashing of helmets and pads and 300 pound linemen trampling across the line of scrimmage all fill the cool autumn air. One cannot help but to feel at home as these stimulations of the senses send the mind spiraling back to successful seasons of past.

        For HHS the minds immediately go back to the glory days of Sam Rogers or maybe even Josh Wells for those that have been around longer. Separated by a year, these two never actually took the field together. However, both molded HHS football into the successful organization that it is today.

        The school itself opened in 2003, so of course the beginning was going to be a little rocky for the team. In the first season of its existence the Hawks won only one game, failing to make the playoffs. In 2004 entered Wells, completely taking the reins of the subpar program and running with them. Immediately he stood out, not just because of his 6’6” stature, but because the kid was good. Really good. In four years at HHS, Wells accumulated over 4,900 total yards and 33 touchdowns at quarterback. Most importantly he transformed this once struggling program into a competitive playoff team. He would eventually go on to make the NFL.

HHS had a big void to fill at quarterback with Wells gone. Many thought the Hawks would go back to the struggling program that it was before Wells, because honestly filling the shoes of a future NFL player is next to impossible. That is, for everyone but Sam Rogers.

        In Rogers’ first year he took the Hawks to the state semifinals, where they almost beat state powerhouse Phoebus High School out of Hampton. Phoebus was the defending state champion and on a 28 game winning streak. Needless to say HHS was about a 40 point underdog. Behind the leadership of Rogers, a freshman, they led the game until there was less than a minute to go, losing by a score of 10 to seven.

        Much like in this game, Rogers has always been a bit of an underdog in others’ eyes. He is smaller than most colleges prefer. Standing only at 5’10” he had some trouble getting big schools to recruit him despite his talent. Eventually Frank and Shane Beamer, coaches at Virginia Tech, told him he could walk on and try and compete for playing time. Rogers has always been a bit of an underdog in others’ eyes, but never his own.

“All I ever really wanted was an opportunity and that’s what they gave me. I know my expectations of myself will always be higher than the people who doubt me, but my biggest motivation is just trying to maximize my potential. At the end of the day, if I do that, it’s impossible to have regrets,” Rogers said.

        Entering his senior year Rogers is now a four year starter, a two year captain, and was put on scholarship almost immediately after arriving at Tech. His determination along with Wells’ determination is what best defines HHS football.

They branded a tradition of determination and perseverance into the identity of this program forever.

Hanover Spring Sports Playoff Outlook

Danny Polk 

 

Boys’ Tennis
The boys tennis team captured the Capital District crown for the second consecutive season. The duo of Danny Polk and Conner Healy captured the district doubles title, while Polk finished as the runner-up in singles play. In team regional competition, the Hawks knocked off #3 ranked Mills Godwin 5-1. The Hawks fell for the second consecutive year in the regional semi-final to Cosby, finishing with a record of 15-3.

Boys Soccer
The soccer team got off to a slow start under the direction of new head coach Laurent Body. But, the Hawks have rebounded to earn themselves a district playoff bid. They entered the Capital District playoffs as the #4 seed and matched up against the #1 seeded Atlee Raiders. The Hawks pulled off the upset with a 4OT thriller. But, the cinderella story came to an end with a 1-0 loss to Henrico.

Baseball
The Hawks enter the Capital District playoff as district champs with the #1 seed. The baseball team has peaked at #1 in the Times-Dispatch top 10. The Hawks have also been ranked top 50 nationally throughout the season according to Max Preps. With a record of 17-2, the baseball team is a heavy favorite to capture the regional crown behind the arm of junior ace pitcher Derek Casey, who is undefeated as a starter.

Track
Annie Sadler captured the 800m Capital District title while placing 3rd in the 1600m. Leila Haynesworth placed in the 100m hurdles. Sam Seymour also placed in the girls pole-vault. Rachel Gaunt finshed 8th in the 3200m.
On the boys side, Caleb Haneline finished 5th in the 3200m. The 4x800m team earned a regional bid as well.

Girls’ Tennis
The girls tennis team captured the Capital District title for the second year in a row. A 10-0 start to the season allowed some breathing room for late season losses. The Hawks got paired against Deep Run in the first round of team regional competition and fell 5-1. However, the future looks extremely bright for the girls tennis program as they lose no starters from a team that was underclassmen-heavy.

Girls’ Soccer
The girls soccer team entered the Capital District playoff as the #3 seed with a record of 9-7. The Hawks squared off against Glen Allen a team that they split with during the regular season in the first round.
The Hawks fell to the Jaguars 1-0, which marked an end to their season. Hanover loses a class of talented seniors including Caroline Yeager and Kristina Kilgore. But they return all-district goalie Caroline Crowder.

Softball
The softball team came into the district playoff as the #3 seed. Early losses likely cost the Hawks the district crown, but they entered the postseason in prime form with late regular season wins over Atlee and Lee-Davis.
Despite the Hawks late season momentum, they fell to Lee-Davis after obtaining an early lead; bringing their season to an end.

Lacrosse
The boys lacrosse team had a successful season, finishing with a record of 8-8. In their third season of existence, the sport showed tremendous growth. Junior Alex Fisher led the league in scoring.
The girls program finished with a 4-7 record, including a win over Lee-Davis. The girls team fell in the playoffs to Atlee by a score of 15-4.
Lacrosse becomes an offical VHSL sport in 2014.