West Hancock strolls into a UNI-Dome appearance

Joe Smith braces for impact as he tries to crack into the endzone.
Curran McLaughlin | The Leader

Congratulations all around between the Eagle players.

Curran McLaughlin | The Leader

            West Hancock seems to improve each week as they advanced another step towards a state championship on Friday. The Eagles visited Akron-Westfield located in Akron for the quarterfinals of the Class A Playoffs.

            Considered the underdog, West Hancock proved they weren’t to be taken lightly as they forced the mercy rule on Akron-Westfield in a 50-14 blowout.

            “Our guys they wanted that that one pretty bad,” defensive coordinator Mark Sanger said.

            Momentum shifted in the Eagles favor early on when Bennett Bruns intercepted a pass from Westerners quarterback Nick Jacobs.

            Bruns returned the ball for 30-plus yards into redzone territory, setting up the Eagles first touchdown of the night.

            The Eagles wouldn’t turn back as the team led 36-8 at halftime.

            West Hancock would score in the final seconds of the half with a 16-yard pass from Brayden Leerar to Caleb Eckels on a streak.

            Eckels jumped for a perfectly placed ball in the back of the endzone, tapping his toes in before falling down.

            The team continued its brand of hard-nose football as the team combined for 365 yards of rushing.

            The offensive line performed at a peak level, allowing for big gains up the middle for the West Hancock runners.

            “Every week our guys up front are tougher than nails,” Sanger said.

Read the complete story in the Nov. 7 Leader.