FOREST, VA-The Hampden-Sydney football team overcame a 14-7 deficit to start its ODAC title defense 1-0 in conference play, defeating the Cardinals of the Catholic University of America 38-21 at Jefferson Forest in Lynchburg, Virginia. Freshman running back Kyree Koonce (Charlottesville, VA/Albemarle) was just 24 yards shy of breaking the school's single-game rushing record in just his fourth collegiate game, running for 203 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. He also added four catches for 38 yards to finish the day with 241 of the Tigers' 429 yards of offense. The Tigers now improve to 3-1 on the season while Catholic drops to 2-2 and starts its conference slate at 0-1.
Hampden-Sydney looked like it was going to roll early, taking a 7-0 lead five minutes into the game on a Koonce 32-yard touchdown run, but it was Catholic who scored the next two touchdowns, including a one-yard run from Matt Perno with time expiring in the first quarter to take a 14-7 lead into the second stanza.
After two punts in the second quarter, Koonce found paydirt again, this time from 15 yards out to tie the game at 14-14.
Both teams had trouble finding a rhythm for the much of the quarter, but junior quarterback Edgar Moore (Tallahassee, FL/Maclay School) hit Cam Johnson (Dillwyn, VA/Buckingham) for their first six point connection of the day - from ten yards out – to go up 21-14 with 41 seconds to play in the half.
The Cardinals gained momentum, driving all the way down to the Hampden-Sydney 30-yard line in the waning seconds of the half. Peter Rosa was set up for a 47-yard field goal to cut into the lead, but Tyler Martin (Evington, VA/Brookville) blocked the attempt, and Sidney Henry (Haymarket, VA/Battlefield) scooped it up and nearly returned it all the way, finally being tackled inside the Catholic ten-yard line with time expired.
The Tigers continued to roll in the third quarter, scoring on back-to-back drives with Carter Cunningham (Farmville, VA/CNU) battling for a 15-yard touchdown run and Liam Hedge (Roanoke, VA/Woodberry Forest) knocking in a 30-yard field goal to take a 31-14 lead.
Catholic was charging in the start of the fourth, but Henry picked off T.J. Tutone for the second time of the day to not only stop a Cardinal score, but also set up another Moore to Johnson connection – this time from nine yards out – to take a 38-14 lead with just under six and a half minutes remaining.
The Cardinals did cross the goal line one more time with Tutone hitting Perno for a four-yard score, but it was too late.
On the day, Hampden-Sydney recorded 429 yards of offense on 283 rushing and 146 passing. Moore was 16-of-30 for 146 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Johnson caught six passes for 61 yards and two scores. Koonce exploded for 203 rushing yards and 38 receiving, while scoring twice.
For Catholic, Tutone was 33-of-49 for 221 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
On the defensive side of the ball for the Tigers, Jay Brooks (Virginia Beach, VA/Cox) led the effort with a game-high ten tackles, including 2.5 for loss. Nick Martin (Round Hill, VA/Loudoun Valley) had eight stops, and Henry and Tyler Martin each had seven tackles; Henry added two picks, and Martin blocked a field goal.
Hampden-Sydney will return home next Saturday, October 10, and play at Everett Stadium for the first time since September 5. The Tigers will host the Generals of Washington & Lee (4-0, 1-0) on Hall of Fame Weekend. Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM.