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Hampden-Sydney Football Opens Against Averett On Saturday

Griffin Davis
Griffin Davis

HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, Va. -- Hampden-Sydney College will open its 2019 football campaign with a non-conference home game against Averett University on Saturday afternoon, September 7, at 1 p.m. on Fulton Field at Lewis C. Everett Stadium.  The host Tigers, members of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), and the visiting Cougars, members of the USA South Conference, are meeting for the eighth time since 2010.

The game takes place during the College's annual Hall of Fame Weekend with two former Tigers earning induction: tight end Ben Dull (2002-05) and wide receiver Drew Smith (2004-07).  The two former standouts will be recognized during a special halftime ceremony at midfield, along with fellow Hall of Fame inductees Mike Clark (Baseball, 2002-05) and Nate Schwab (Basketball, 1992-96).

H-SC is competing in its 125th season of football, and the Tigers are enjoying their 44th year as members of the ODAC.  The contest can be heard locally on WFLO Radio, 95.7 FM.

Hampden-Sydney (0-0) vs. Averett (0-0) | Live Stats | Audio | Video
Location: Fulton Field at Lewis C. Everett Stadium | Hampden-Sydney, Va.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019
Time: 1 p.m.
Radio: Cannon Watson (play-by-play), Scott Simms, Rob Stanley

The Series
H-SC leads the overall series against Averett, 5-2, including 3-0 at Everett Stadium.  The Tigers won the first four games played between the two programs from 2010-13 by an average margin of 28.3 points, including a 63-9 win in 2011.  Following a two-year break, the series resumed in 2016 with the Cougars winning two of the last three meetings, including a 33-14 win in Danville last Sept. 2.

Each of the previous seven games played between the two teams have been season-opening contests, as well.

The Tigers
H-SC returns 10 starters on offense, led by senior team captain, First Team All-ODAC and The Touchdown Club of Richmond's 2018 Small College Wide Receiver of the Year Major Morgan/Onancock (81 receptions, 1,143 yards, 12 touchdowns).  He led the ODAC in receptions, receiving yards and receiving yards per game (127.0, first in Division III), while second in receiving touchdowns (20th nationally).

Other top returning offensive starters include sophomore running back and reigning ODAC Rookie of the Year Kaleb Smith/Rocky Mount (602 yards, seven TDs – 71 receptions, 661 yards, two TDs), junior wide receivers Blake Page/Richmond (38 receptions, 480 yards, three TDs) and Dillon Costello/South Riding (38 receptions, 474 yards, three TDs), along with local Fuqua School graduate and junior tight end Ed Newman/Farmville (22 receptions, 390 yards, two TDs). 

Senior team captain Clay Vick/Raleigh, N.C. takes over at quarterback this season.  He has played in 20 career games, completing 24-38 passes (63.2%) for 291 yards and two touchdowns.  For more on Vick, click here.

The Tigers return four starters on defense, led by senior team captain and two-time First Team All-ODAC linebacker Griffin Davis/Charlottesville (77 tackles, six for loss, one sack, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, one interception).  He ranked 30th in Division III in solo tackles (53, fifth in the ODAC), while fourth in the ODAC in total tackles.

Other returning starters on defense include junior linebacker Brendan Weinberg/Apex, N.C. (64 tackles, 7.5 for loss, one sack, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one interception), junior defensive tackle Phil Pullen/Manassas (27 tackles, 4.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks) and junior defensive back and team captain Riggs Jordan/Bassett (29 tackles, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery).  Also expected to start is local Fuqua School graduate and senior defensive end Tyler Frink/Farmville (11 tackles).

H-SC also returns junior kicker/punter Rhett Andersen/Colorado Springs, Colo. (Third Team All-ODAC last year).  He was 5-7 on field goals in 2018, including a season-best 46-yarder, while a perfect 34-34 on PATs.  Andersen averaged 35.8 yards on 26 punts with a long of 47 yards, including six downed inside the 20 and 10 fair catches. 

The Tigers are coached by 20th-year head coach Marty Favret, who has posted 14 winning seasons and an overall record of 130-66 (.663) over the past 19 seasons.  His program is 83-37 (.692) in ODAC games, while earning five ODAC Championships and making six NCAA Division III Football Championship playoff appearances.

The Cougars
AU returns its top offensive threat from a year ago in senior quarterback Jacob Wright, who accounted for 2,170 total yards, including 1,595 passing and 575 rushing.  He threw for 15 touchdowns and ran for six TDs, earning First Team All-USA South honors.

The Cougars return two of their top tacklers from last season, including sophomore defensive end Joseph Ledbetter (62 tackles) and senior safety Hunter Hinson (47 tackles).  Ledbetter was named the USA South Defensive Rookie of the Year, earning First Team All-USA South honors.  Hinson was a First Team All-USA South choice, as well.

Senior kicker/punter Cole Westberry is also back after making 8-15 field goals in 2018, while 31-34 on PATs to earn Second Team All-USA South at kicker.  He averaged 40.3 yards on 43 punts for First Team All-USA South at punter.

AU is coached by sixth-year head coach Cleive Adams, who has posted two consecutive winning seasons and an overall record of 23-26 over the past five seasons, including 18-17 in USA South games

Last Year
In a game postponed from Saturday evening to Sunday afternoon due to thunderstorms, host Averett scored the final 21 points of the game for a 33-14 win at Frank R. Campbell Stadium in Danville.  H-SC had taken a 14-12 lead midway through the second quarter before the Cougars used a 100-yard return for a touchdown by Bradley Jefferson on the ensuing kickoff to go ahead for good at 19-14, leading 26-14 at halftime before adding a fourth-quarter interception return for a TD and the final margin.

The Tigers took the opening possession of the game 75 yards on 12 plays, capped by a one-yard TD run by Alec Cobb and the extra point kick by Rhett Andersen to lead 7-0 at 10:08.  AU responded with a seven-play, 83-yard drive of its own that ended with a four-yard TD run by Sean Bowman at 6:15 to make it 7-6 after a failed PAT attempt.  The Cougars took a 12-7 lead with 4:20 left in the first quarter, courtesy a 22-yard TD run by Jacob Wright that finished a quick three-play, 28-yard drive — though the PAT failed again.

H-SC answered with a go-ahead TD at 8:41 of the second quarter when Cobb connected with Major Morgan on a five-yard scoring pass.  Andersen's successful conversion made it 14-12 to seemingly put the momentum back in favor of the visitors.  AU, however, had other ideas as Jefferson took the kick two-yards deep in his own end zone and made his way to the other end of the field for the game-changing and momentum-swinging TD.  Cole Westberry made the PAT kick this time and the Cougars led for good at 19-14 with 8:27 remaining until halftime.  Rayvon Johnson caught a 49-yard TD pass from Wright at 4:05 of the second quarter, finishing a 76-yard drive in three plays, with Westberry's PAT good again and the hosts led 26-7 at the intermission.

AU added its final score via the pick-six from Conner Showalter with 9:46 left to play, and another good PAT kick by Westberry provided for the final score. 

H-SC finished with 400 yards of total offense, including 356 yards passing, as Cobb had 330 yards (33-55) through the air with two TDs (one rushing) and two interceptions.  Morgan finished with 10 catches for 153 yards and the one TD reception.  Kaleb Smith had 49 yards rushing on 13 carries to lead the Tigers on the ground, adding 93 yards receiving on eight catches. 

Ryan Mallory led the defense with 11 tackles, including five solo and six assists, adding a forced fumble.  Riggs Jordan added nine tackles (three solo, six assists) with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, while Griffin Davis (four solo, four assists) and Brendan Weinberg (two solo, five assists) contributed eight and seven tackles, respectively.

AU had 471 yards of offense, including 166 yards rushing on 20 carries and a touchdown by Bowman, and 93 yards on eight carries with a TD by Wright, who also passed for 165 yards (13-20) and one TD.  The Cougars were led defensively by Dejon Brooks with 15 tackles, including four solo and 11 assists. 

Week Two
H-SC will travel to Newport News for another non-conference game at in-state rival Christopher Newport University on Saturday night, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. at TowneBank Stadium.