FOREST, VA-Expectations are high in 2014 for the Tiger football team, as the reigning ODAC Champions have been picked to defend their title and win their ninth ODAC crown following one of the best seasons in school history, going 9-3 and appearing in the second round of the NCAA Division III Football Championship. The Tigers received seven first place votes along with 49 points. Arch-rival Randolph-Macon received the final first place votes and 42 total points to place second in the poll. Guilford College (37 points) and Washington & Lee (29 points) rounded out the top four.
Hampden-Sydney returns several starters on both offense and defense from the 2013 team, including Preseason All-Americans Nash Nance (Calhoun, GA/Tennessee) and Holton Walker (Lynchburg, VA/Brookville). Nance was a force, passing for 3,504 yards and 27 touchdowns while running for 545 yards and an ODAC-high 17 touchdowns; his favorite target Walker caught 16 touchdown passes and led the nation with 1,723 yards on an ODAC-record 111 receptions. Joining Walker is a veteran receiving core of Joey Kernan (Derwood, MD/Gonzaga) (26 rec., 252 yds), Fuller Clark (Roanoke, VA/North Cross) (22 rec., 204 yds), Michael Mey (Glen Allen, VA/VMI) (18 rec., 346 yds), and tight end Joey Druhan (Purcellville, VA/Loudoun Valley) (28 rec., 393 yds).
Senior Brady Macko (Kill Devil Hills, NC/First Flight) will be the featured back after leading the team in rushing yards last season, running for 562 yards and eight touchdowns on 110 carries.
The Tigers do graduate four of the five starting offensive lineman, but senior Tyler Ritter (Climax, NC/Ragsdale) returns to anchor the line.
Defensively, Hampden-Sydney brings back the bulk of a 2013 defense that led the league in yards allowed-per-game (287.7) and was second in points allowed-per-game (19.2). Though All-American linebacker and ODAC Defensive Player of the Year Tyler Ikwild graduated, First Team All-ODAC Josh Doggett (Mechanicsville, VA/Atlee) (107 tkls, 13.0 TFL) and Robert Stack (Charlotte, NC/Merchant Marine Academy) (64 tkls) headline the linebacking core.
Four starters return in the secondary, including All-ODAC safeties John Moore (Powhatan, VA/Blessed Sacrament-Huguenot) (66 tkls, 6.0 TFL) and Shreve Rohle (Mechanicsville, VA/Hanover) (66 tkls, 2 INTs). Cornerbacks Sidney Henry (Haymarket, VA/Battlefield) (24 tkls, 3 INT) and Dion Berry (Powhatan, VA/Powhatan) (6 tkls) round out the veteran secondary.
The Tigers also return two talented defensive linemen in First Team All-ODAC nose guard Scott Markland (Stephens City, VA/Sherando) (38 tkls, 7.5 TFL) and defensive end Michael Bazemore (Mechanicsville, VA/Atlee) (32 tkls, 6.5 TFL).
After missing the 2013 season to injury, both kicker Max Antwerpes (Mainz, Germany/Kenston Forest) and punter Jordan Chalkley (Richmond, VA/St. Christopher's) will assume kicking duties.
The Tigers open up their schedule in the Gentlemen's Classic, facing Wabash College for the first time. The game will be in Crawfordsville, IN on September 6. Hampden-Sydney's quest for back-to-back ODAC Championships begins on October 4, as the Tigers travel to Catholic.
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2014 ODAC FOOTBALL PRESEASON POLL
(#) Denotes first place votes
|1. Hampden-Sydney (7)||49 pts.|
|2. Randolph-Macon (1)||42 pts.|
|3. Guilford||37 pts.|
|4. Washington and Lee||29 pts.|
|5. Bridgewater||23 pts.|
|6. Shenandoah||18 pts.|
|7. Catholic||16 pts.|
|8. Emory & Henry||10 pts.|