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Tigers Unable To Close Out In Loss To Huntingdon

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HAMPDEN-SYDNEY – The Hampden-Sydney football team got a lesson in closing out an opponent on Saturday. It came the hard way, as the Tigers dropped a 24-21 non-conference decision to Huntingdon.

The Tigers spotted HU an early lead, and trailed by as many as ten points in the third quarter, before rallying to take a 21-17 lead, only to give it up with just over four minutes remaining in the contest.<br />
Up 21-17 with about eight minutes remaining, it looked like H-SC was going to put away the Hawks on a methodical (or as methodical as a H-SC drive can get) drive midway through the fourth quarter.

However, a completed pass by Nash Nance to Evan King on a double-reverse to the Huntingdon nine-yard-line was negated by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. A short punt two plays later gave HU the ball on their own 35 yard line. Six plays later, Huntington quarterback Neal Posey found Tyler Robinson for a 30-yard touchdown with 4:16 remaining in the contest.

Though H-SC was down only three points, the Tigers were unable to get back in an offensive rhythm, and turned the ball over on downs at midfield with 2:26 remaining.

“”We had a chance to put the game away, but a couple of mistakes and penalties took us out of scoring position,” said H-SC head coach Marty Favret. “We went from what looked like first-and-goal inside the ten to having to punt from midfield. Momentum seemed to shift at that point.”

The Tigers, who trailed 14-7 at halftime dodged two bullets on a muffed punt and interception in the third quarter that gave the Hawks possession deep in H-SC territory. The Tigers' defense held Huntingdon to just three points, which seemed to give Hampden-Sydney the edge in momentum.

Nance led the Tigers down the field on an 11-play 76 yard drive. Nance found Holton Walker on third-and-18 from the HU 21 yard line to get the Tigers to the one yard line, and Nance then dove into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown to pull the Tigers to within three points with 5:19 left in the third.”

The H-SC defense forced a three-and-out on Huntingdon's next possession, and a short punt gave the Tigers possession at midfield. Six plays later, Nance found Walker down the left side for a 40-yard touchdown reception that gave the Tigers their first and only lead of the game at 21-17 with 1:28 left in the third.

The combined total of 45 points was somewhat surprising, given the high-octane tendencies of both offenses.

“Every time you predict a shoot-out, for some reason, the games seem to turn out like this,” said Favret. “It may have not had the scoring people thought it might have, but even though we lost, we can still say it was a very good game.”

Huntington took a 7-0 lead four and a half minutes into the contest on a touchdown pass from Trevor Manuel to Neal Posey. The Tigers turned away what looked to be another Huntingdon scoring drive and tied the game on a two-yard-run by King with 4:13 left in the first quarter. Neither offense could get on track until Huntingdon scored on a 36-yard pass from Robinson to Posey with 1:26 left in the half, which gave the Hawks the seven-point lead at the break.

Nance was 20-37 passing for 227 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Walker had a game-high 11 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown, while John Michael Sparagna caught seven passes for 46 yards. King led the Tigers on the ground with 85 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

Tyler Ikwild led the Tigers defensively with 13 tackles, two for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Charlie Shoemaker had nine tackles, while Kenny Fryman and Steven Fogleman had eight tackles apiece.

Posey was 27-43 passing for 245 yards and three touchdowns. Robinson hauled in five receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Manuel led the running game with 81 yards on 21 carries.

Courtney Moss and Zach Brownell led the Hawks' defense with seven stops each while Moss added 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles-for-loss. D.J. Chappell added four tackles with 2.5 sacks.

Hampden-Sydney will open ODAC play on Saturday at Catholic University at 1 p.m.

“It's an easy line, and every team in the league gets to use it, but we'll have a fresh slate,” said Favret. “We'll go into that game looking to gain momentum and build from there.”