Hanover football to be much more experienced this season

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The six-man football program at Hanover missed the postseason for the first time in four years last season.

No bulletin board message is needed in 2017.

Extra motivation won't be an issue.

The Hornets' youthful roster, as they'll admit themselves, was victim of inexperience in 2016 as a season-opening win was followed by four straight defeats - each by double digits.

In 2017, they return nearly everyone in hopes of restoring prominence to a program that had gone 17-3 in the prior two seasons.

"No more excuses," Hanover coach Luke Decker said. "We can't use inexperience as an excuse anymore."

The Hornets graduated eight seniors after 2015, leaving a giant void. But now, in 2017, they again have a tested roster after graduating only one senior.

"From an experience standpoint at the varsity level we really didn't have much last year," Decker said. "This year they're all seniors and juniors. Just having that year of experience will help us get back to where we want to be."

The headliner is Efren Martinez, a bruising senior force who will lead the way on both sides of the ball, acting as the team's middle linebacker and running back.

Martinez, who had postseason experience as a sophomore, called last season's dip "understandable" - but now he's eager to turn the page.

"It feels like we're more experienced now," Martinez said. "Everybody has a lot of playing time under them this year. We are a lot more experienced."

His supporting cast may benefit the most from last season's growing pains.

Decker believes players like Isaia Jarvis, an Alaska transfer who'd never played high school football before last year, and Cody White, who joined the team last year and was immediately thrown into the role of starting quarterback, are ready to take the next step.

"It's just about getting back to playing Hornet football to the level we are used to," Decker said. "It's time to go play at that level themselves."