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Hampden-Sydney Football Drops Hard-Fought 21-17 Decision To Shenandoah

Major Morgan
Major Morgan

Watch Major Morgan Remarkable Reception (YouTube)

HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, Va. -- Senior captain and WR Major Morgan/Onancock caught a career-high 14 passes for 165 yards, but it wasn't enough as Hampden-Sydney College dropped a hard-fought 21-17 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) football decision to Shenandoah University on Saturday afternoon on Fulton Field at Lewis C. Everett Stadium. Senior QB Austin Murphy/Melfa came off the bench to pass for a career-high 212 yards and two touchdowns for the host Tigers (1-6, 0-5), while junior WR Dillon Costello/Haymarket had a career-high 12 receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown. Ben Agostino and Ben Rhodenizer each passed for a touchdown for the visiting Hornets (4-2, 3-2), including the game-winner from Rhodenizer to Casey Stewart for 10 yards and the go-ahead touchdown with 9:08 remaining.

H-SC put the first points on the scoreboard at 8:02 of the first quarter, getting a 20-yard field goal from junior K Rhett Andersen/Poquoson. The Tigers had taken the opening possession of the game and drove 69 yards on 14 plays for the early 3-0 advantage. Senior captain and QB Clay Vick/Raleigh, N.C. was 7-8 on the drive for 47 yards, including four passes to Morgan for 40 yards. Junior TE Ed Newman/Farmville had two carries for 20 yards on the drive, including a 16-yard run on an end-around play.

After exchanging possessions, SU went 48 yards on seven plays capped by a 20-yard touchdown pass from Agostino to Stewart at 1:12 of the first quarter. Drew Geyer added the PAT for the 7-3 advantage.

The Tigers re-took the lead late in the second quarter at 3:28 when Newman scored on a six-yard touchdown pass from Murphy, who had replaced an injured Vick at the start of the quarter. H-SC's go-ahead score finished a 19-play, 85-yard drive that took 8:28 off the clock. Murphy was 7-11 passing for 46 yards on the drive, junior RB Justin Pollard/Culpeper had three carries for 11 yards, Newman had two catches for 18 yards—including the TD—and Morgan had two catches for 13 yards.

Vick had been injured on the final play of the first quarter when sacked for a 12-yard loss.

Unfortunately, SU managed to go 93 yards on nine plays to score another go-ahead touchdown just before the intermission. Mario Wisdom scored on the ground from one-yard out, and the PAT by Geyer made it 14-10 at halftime.

H-SC and SU battled evenly throughout the third quarter as neither team could find the end zone. The Hornets did miss a 37-yard field goal attempt on the opening possession of the second half. The Tigers punted once in the quarter, before an interception ended another drive in SU territory. H-SC's final possession of the third quarter continued into the fourth quarter, but ended on downs at the SU two-yard line with 13:58 remaining.

The Tigers forced a punt on the ensuing possession and took over, driving 51 yards on seven plays in just 2:41, scoring a go-ahead touchdown at 10:33 when Costello caught a 10-yard scoring pass from Murphy. The PAT by Andersen had the hosts out in front 17-14.

SU, however, answered right back with what proved to be its game-winning touchdown, going 65 yards on four plays, capped by the 10-yard scoring pass from Rhodenizer to Stewart at 9:08. Geyer's third PAT made it 21-17.

The two teams traded punts before another H-SC interception preceded yet another punt by the Hornets. The Tigers started their final possession with 4:47 remaining, and needing a touchdown. On fourth and nine at their own 39, Murphy connected with Morgan for 32 yards, as Morgan made a remarkable catch—wrestling and ripping the ball away from the SU defender, who appeared to have an interception—before Morgan simply just took the ball away for the reception (see photo above). Unfortunately, the possession ended on downs and the visitors ran the final 1:40 off the clock for the road win.

Murphy passed for his career-high 212 yards (25-43) and two touchdowns with two interceptions. Vick had 47 yards (7-8) with no interceptions before leaving the contest after one quarter. Becker finished with 16 carries for 23 yards rushing, Newman had two carries for 20 yards, Costello had two carries for 14 yards, and Pollard added 11 yards on three carries. Morgan had his career-high 14 receptions for a game-high 165 yards. Costello added his 56 yards receiving on his career-high 12 catches and one touchdown, Newman had three catches for 18 yards and one touchdown, and Becker added one reception for nine yards.

Morgan's 14 receptions tie four others for the fifth-most in a game by a Tiger. He now has 213 career receptions for 2,882 yards receiving. Morgan is now fifth in career receiving yards, and is now tied for fifth in career receptions, while remaining fifth in career receiving touchdowns (25).

Morgan and Murphy are each graduates of Broadwater Academy in Exmore.

Senior captain and LB Griffin Davis/Charlottesville and classmate and LB Tony Talbert/Charlottesville—a pair of Monticello High School graduates—each had a game-high 12 tackles, also a career-high for Talbert. Talbert had 1.5 tackles for loss, and Davis was credited with 0.5 tackles for loss. Junior LB Brendan Weinberg/Apex, N.C. added nine tackles, junior CB Brad Jeffers/Warrenton and junior captain and S Riggs Jordan/Bassett each had eight tackles, including one for loss by Jordan, and junior DL Phil Pullen/Manassas added five tackles, including a sack, and a forced fumble.

Agostino passed for 210 yards (20-33) and one touchdown with no interceptions, while Rhodenizer added 61 yards passing (4-6) and one touchdown with no interceptions. Agostino added 32 yards rushing on six carries. Stewart had 73 yards receiving on four catches and two touchdowns, while Ethan Bigbee added five receptions for 27 yards.

Daquan Pridget had 11 tackles and broke-up four passes from his spot in the secondary. Randy Oliver added nine tackles, including one for loss, while Tyler Williams and Jordan Rice each finished with eight tackles. Rice had the sack on Vick among his 2.5 tackles for loss, and Williams also had a tackle for loss.

H-SC will play on the road at ODAC member Guilford College on Saturday afternoon, October 26, at 1 p.m. in Greensboro, North Carolina.