Heartland hung on Victory Bell
|Franklin and Hanover have met
for more than a century.
Franklin athletics photo
These games go by many different names – Little Brass Bell, Bridge Bowl, Monon Bell, Victory Bell.
What they do have in common are two schools with tons of college football tradition – regardless of classification – and the intensity and atmosphere fans and participants will remember for a lifetime.
Another brick was laid in the battle for the Victory Bell in Franklin, Ind., when the Franklin Grizzles took on the Hanover Panthers. Franklin and Hanover have played against each other since 1898. For the second time in three years, the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference title was on the line.
“When I took the job here, I promised these guys that they will get to play in championship games,” said first-year coach Steve Baudendistel. Baudendistel is a Hanover alumnus and played in the Victory Bell game as a player. “If things stay the way they are, this game may be for the championship every single year and they might as well get ready for that. This game will mean something special to them.”
In the end, No. 16 Franklin won the game 58-29, the most combined points both teams have scored in the history of the rivalry. It was Franklin’s eighth consecutive win in the Victory Bell game, but that has not diminished the contest in the eyes of fans and players.
Tailgating tents crowded the grounds outside of Faught Stadium. Hanover fans set up tailgate tents on the opposite side the stadium from Franklin tailgate tents. Both sides of the stadium were packed with fans by kickoff time. The crowd and occasion was not lost on the players.
“Starting on Monday, pamphlets were passed out making sure we’re reminded about the rich history of the rivalry between Franklin and Hanover,” said Kyle Linville, Franklin wide receiver to scored two touchdowns Saturday. “We normally have a great atmosphere here for the games here, but the fans seem to step it up another notch for this game. It’s already a great game without the championship, but having the title on the line just adds to it. It’s something you’ll remember forever.”
Hanover’s All-American wide receiver Daniel Passafiume finished his stellar career with most of the Panthers receiving records. His 343 career catches is the fifth most in NCAA history, all divisions. As he left the field Saturday, he admitted that it stung that he never beaten Franklin in the Victory Bell game.
“This is your rivalry game and who doesn’t get excited about it and want to win it,” Passafiume said. “It’s one of the old rivalry games and will always be a big rivalry. It hurts not to win just one and you know it does. But I will always remember the teammates and friends I’ve made along the way.”
Franklin coach Mike Leonard, who turned the Grizzlies program around six years ago into a consistent...