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Football Survives Furious Rally, Downs Shenandoah 49-43

Brian Gwaltney

HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, VA-The Hampden-Sydney football team kept their ODAC Championship chances alive, downing Shenandoah 49-43 in a high scoring affair. The Tigers were able to hold off a furious rally from the Hornets that saw them score 21 fourth quarter points – including 13 in the final 1:36 of the game. In that fourth quarter, Shenandoah had the ball just two minutes and 52 seconds. The Tigers, now at 6-3 overall and 4-1 in conference play, will travel to Ashland next Saturday to face arch-rival Randolph-Macon in the 122nd playing of "the Game." Shenandoah (6-3, 3-2 ODAC) will wrap up the regular season against Washington & Lee (7-2, 4-1).

The scoring started early and continued often as Shenandoah took the opening kickoff to the end zone after two plays and 33 seconds. A failed two-point attempt put the Hornets up 6-0.

Hampden-Sydney fired right back three minutes later, using 13 plays to drive 75 yards and a touchdown on an eight-yard pass from Alec Cobb (Jamestown, NC/Ragsdale) to Carter Cunningham (Farmville, VA/Fuqua). The extra point from Steven Hall (Mechanicsville, VA/Lee-Davis) gave the Tigers their first lead.

The lead was short lived, however, as a bad snap on a punt attempt for the Tigers rocketed the ball out of bound for a safety. Shenandoah then found the end zone midway through the first quarter for a 15-7 lead.

The Tigers then dominated the second quarter with three straight touchdowns. Cam Johnson (Dillwyn, VA/Buckingham) and Major Morgan (Onancock, VA/Broadwater Academy) caught touchdown passes from Cobb of five- and 40-yards, respectively; and Cunningham crossed the goal line for his second score of the day on a two-yard run. The Tigers struggled to convert after touchdowns, giving them 18 points for the quarter and a 25-15 halftime lead.

That lead was added to in the third quarter as Hampden-Sydney took the opening drive 59 yards and found pay dirt on a 24-yard touchdown reception from Johnson.

It took Shenandoah just 29 seconds to respond with a touchdown, cutting their deficit to 32-22.

Hampden-Sydney poured it back on to finish out the quarter as Cobb threw his fifth touchdown pass of the game – this one an eight-yard pass to Dillon Costello (South Riding, VA/Paul VI) – followed by a four-yard rushing touchdown to Mike DeMasi (Virginia Beach, VA/Frank W. Cox) to take a 46-22 lead into the fourth quarter.

Shenandoah cut it to a 16-point game with a touchdown at the 8:50 mark, but the Tigers responded with a 5:46 drive that ended with a 23-yard field goal from Hall with just under three minutes to play.

The Hornets then drove 70 yards in just 74 seconds to score a touchdown and make it a 49-36 game. The kept the game very interesting, recovering an onside kick and then scoring just 30 seconds later to pull within six with 1:04 to play.

Shenandoah's next onside kick attempt went out of bounds eight yards from the kick, giving the Tigers the ball and they were able to run out the clock.

On the day, the Tigers had 466 yards of offense on 365 passing and 101 rushing. Cobb was 33-of-49 for 365 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. Johnson and Morgan each had 100 yard days with Johnson catching 13 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns and Morgan going for 100 yards and a score on seven catches. Cunningham also had seven catches for 78 yards and a touchdown to go with four carries for nine yards and a score.

DeMasi had a strong outing with 102 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries.

Defensively, the Tigers allowed 429 yards of offense on 401 passing and 28 rushing. Brian Gwaltney (Colonial Heights, VA/Colonial Heights) led the way with eight tackles and four pass break ups. Brendan Weinberg (Apex, NC/Middle Creek) and Griffin Davis (Charlottesville, VA/Monticello) each had six stops, while Davis had 1.5 in the backfield. The defensive line of Joe Everette (Mechanicsville, VA/Hanover), Benjamin Carson (Winston-Salem, NC/Mount Tabor), Tanner Ramey (Mechanicsville, VA/Atlee), and John Kline (New Cumberland, PA/Trinity) combined for 7.5 stops in the backfield for a total of 37 yards. Everette led the unit with 3.0 for 14 yards.

Hampden-Sydney will wrap up the regular season next Saturday, November 11 as the Tigers face arch-rival Randolph-Macon in "The Game" at Day Field in Ashland.  

Football Falls 20-7 at CNU
September 9, 2017 Football Falls 20-7 at CNU