NORWELL — Hanover could have sat and rested its starters for Thursday morning’s Thanksgiving game at Norwell.
Although Hanover chose to rest the senior backfield tandem of quarterback Wyatt Shisler and running back Brad Rogers,
“Thanksgiving Day is Massachusetts football and it’s an important day,” coach Chris Landolfi said. “I explained to them the importance of this day. They wanted to play. To win on Thanksgiving is something they will always remember.”
No one will have fonder memories of the day than Wheeler (4 catches 102 yards, 3 touchdowns).
With the game scoreless in the second quarter, Hanover began a drive at its 41-yard line. Runs of 18 and 20 yards by Wheeler set up the Indians at the Norwell 8-yard line.
Sophomore quarterback Andrew Carroll rolled right and hit Wheeler, who lunged over the pylon for the score and Hanover took a 7-3 lead into the half.
On the first drive of the third quarter, the Hanover offensive line pushed the Clippers all the way to the Norwell 18 before Carroll found Wheeler on a crossing route. The senior out-jumped two defenders to stretch the lead to 14-3.
The teams traded punts, then Hanover got the ball at its 33 with a chance to put the game away.
No drive was necessary because Wheeler shot past everyone on a fly route and Carroll put it on the money for a 67-yard score that ended with Wheeler being mobbed by his teammates in the end zone.
With the Super Bowl looming for Hanover (11-0), beating Norwell (8-3) and remaining undefeated meant everything to Wheeler, who was named offensive player of the game, and his teammates.
“It’s awesome to go into the Super Bowl undefeated. We really wanted that and to beat Norwell and make it 3-1 over them in our four years,” Wheeler said. “This is amazing, I can’t describe this. It just feels awesome.”