HANOVER – Hanover senior quarterback Ben Scalzi has taken the adage “In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity” to another level.
The calm, cool former Hawks wideout is back under center for a second season after being forced into action when former starting quarterback Michael Landolfi left Hanover for Lawrence Academy after the 2021 season.
Scalzi had never played quarterback at the varsity level until last season, yet went on to throw for just under 2,800 yards with 27 touchdowns and then added another 535 yards on the ground with five rushing touchdowns.
Scalzi led the Hawks to a 9-3 record in his first season and was roughly three minutes away from a trip to Gillette Stadium before Milton rallied to a 32-30 victory in the Div. 3 semifinals.
“Last year was a huge opportunity for me with it being my first year starting at quarterback, but I learned a lot,” said Scalzi. “There’s always room for improvement. Every day we are just getting better, and we just have to stay focused day-by-day.”
Scalzi continued to climb the day-by-day ladder as Hanover stunned Duxbury 28-18 on the road to open the 2023 season. That broke Duxbury’s 12-game winning streak and handed the Hawks their first-ever win over the Patriot League Keenan Division juggernaut dating to 1996 (0-11 overall).
Scalzi finished with 236 yards passing along with three touchdowns and added one on the ground.
Head coach Brian Kelliher is in his first season with Hanover and thinks Scalzi, along with a slew of returning starters, has the Hawks in position to go far this season.
“He walks with an air of confidence when he enters the field, he’s just extremely calm but confident in his abilities and he doesn’t force anything,” said Kelliher. “He just takes what they give him and if a mistake happens, he rebounds very quickly but he’s just a calming influence out there.”
Scalzi feels with the returning group of starters that Hanover is poised for another shot at getting to the Div. 3 Super Bowl.
“Our starters have a lot of experience from last year and they are all very talented, I have a bunch of weapons, and hopefully I can get them the ball,” said Scalzi. “Duxbury has been big forever and we knew when the schedule came out that we had to start preparing and game-planning. It was such a huge win for the program.”
Next up on the road show for Scalzi is Hingham (0-1) which will test the Hawks to remain unbeaten on the season before some home cooking against another non-league opponent, Stoughton.
Then the fun begins for the 6’3 senior signal-caller as Hanover travels to Plymouth South for the Patriot League Fisher Division opener for both teams. The Panthers (1-0) were one of only three teams to beat Scalzi last season, but Kelliher isn’t looking too far into the future.
“We have a great group coming back and now obviously (Scalzi) is a huge part of that so we’re just trying to do what we talked about all offseason… we’re not worried about the end of the year, we were just worried about week one,” said Kelliher. “That was our whole preseason list, let’s worry about Duxbury, and now they’re over and we’re just going to worry about Hingham. We can only take what is in front of us.”
Scalzi isn’t waiting for the right opportunities for Hanover, he’s creating them on his own.
BEN SCALZI PROFILE BOX:
NAME: Ben Scalzi
SCHOOL: Hanover High School (Hawks)
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’3’’, 205
FAMILY: (Father, mother, brothers, and sisters) – Father, Jeff; Mother Allison; Brother Aidan; Sisters; Caroline and Claire
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Two-sport Varsity Athlete at Hanover – also a senior captain on the basketball team
FAVORITE PERSONAL MOMENT IN SPORTS: Quarterfinal win last year vs. Walpole. Game sent us to the semifinals, high scoring game (40-37 win for Hanover).
FAVORITE COURSE IN SCHOOL: History
LEAST FAVORITE COURSE IN SCHOOL: English, definitely English
FAVORITE PIGOUT FOOD: Shrimp and Pasta
FAVORITE TV SHOW: Breaking Bad
FAVORITE MOVIE: Rudy
FAVORITE MUSICIAN: Drake
FAVORITE VIDEO GAME: Call of Duty – Black Ops 2
FAVORITE SMARTPHONE APP: TikTok
FAVORITE TWITTER ACCOUNT TO FOLLOW: Hanover Football – @HanoverFball
FAVORITE PRO TEAM: New England Patriots
FAVORITE ATHLETE: Justin Fields
HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR A GAME: Don’t really have a true routine but just make sure I stay hydrated.
IF YOU COULD BE SOMEONE ELSE FOR A DAY, WHO WOULD IT BE: Elon Musk