Hampden-Sydney Tigers Earn ODAC Championship Title

Published 11:29 am Tuesday, November 19, 2013

ASHLAND — The Hampden-Sydney football team won its eighth ODAC title and fourth since 2007 after the Tigers defeated arch-rival Randolph-Macon 28-26 in a thrilling edition of 'The Game.' With the win, the Tigers improve their advantage in the 120-year series to 61-47-11.

The Tigers wrap up their regular season at 8-2 overall and 6-1 in the ODAC; they also punch their ticket to the 2013 NCAA Division III Football Championship.

The 2013 version of 'The Game' did not disappoint, as the packed stadium was treated to a back-and-forth thriller that went down to the wire. A Randolph-Macon touchdown with 95 seconds to play pulled the Yellow Jackets within two, but Hampden-Sydney made a crucial goal-line stand to stop the two-point conversion and hold the lead.

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The Tigers trailed just once in the game, and they took the first lead of the game, marching down the field on their first drive to set a tone. Junior quarterback Nash Nance (Calhoun, GA/Tennessee) capped off an eight-play, 57-yard drive by running for a 10-yard score.

Both defenses then stepped up, forcing three-and-outs, before the Yellow Jackets tied the game on a John Byrd one-yard run.

Hampden-Sydney was not daunted, responding with a 91-yard scoring drive. Nance completed five of his six passes, including a 39-yard strike to Michael Mey (Glen Allen/VMI), before running for a six-yard score to reclaim the lead.

Randolph-Macon came back in the second quarter and tied the game at 14-14 on a 66-yard touchdown run from Will McGhee.

The Yellow Jackets followed that scoring drive up with another long strike as Zac Naccarato hit Greg Petrohovich for a 46-yard touchdown. After a failed PAT, Randolph-Macon led 20-14.

The lead, however, only lasted five plays as Nance hit Holton Walker (Lynchburg/Brookville) for a 24-yard touchdown.

The Tigers had the chance to extend the lead before halftime but were picked off in the end zone.

The Hampden-Sydney defense started the second half on first, ending the first four Yellow Jacket drives early. Shreve Rohle (Mechanicsville/Hanover) picked off Naccarato on the opening drive of the half, the Tigers forced a turnover-on-downs, they withstood a missed field goal, and then forced a three-and-out.

On the offensive side, Nance ran in for his third rushing touchdown of the day to put the Tigers up 28-20 with just 4:35 to play.

Randolph-Macon strung together a six minute scoring drive that landed McGhee in the end zone with 1:35 to play. Hampden-Sydney then stopped McGhee on the two-point conversion but was called for a facemask penalty and gave the Yellow Jackets another chance. It did not matter, however, as the Tiger defense held strong again and tackled McGhee before he reached the goal line.

Hampden-Sydney recovered the onsides kick, but came up just short of running out the clock. The Tigers were able to use all but two seconds of the clock and gave the Yellow Jackets the ball back with one more shot from the Hampden-Sydney 49-yard line. Bubby Morgan of the Yellow Jackets tossed the hail mary, but it was batted down, sealing the Tigers' ODAC Championship.

On the day, Hampden-Sydney tallied 414 yards of offense on 323 passing and 91 rushing. Nance was 23-of-34 for 323 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. He also ran 18 times for 56 yards and three touchdowns. Walker recorded a game-high 152 yards and a touchdown on ten catches. Mey hauled in four passes for 95 yards.

Defensively, the Tigers allowed 327 yards on 213 rushing and 114 passing. Tyler Ikwild (Philomont/Loudoun Valley) had a monster game with 17 tackles. Josh Doggett (Mechanicsville/Atlee) and Nick Martin (Round Hill/Loudoun Valley) had 14 and 11 tackles, respectively, while Martin added an interception.

McGhee led Randolph-Macon's offense with 198 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries.

The ODAC Champion Tigers will participate in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Division III Football Championship on Saturday, November 23 at 12 p.m. when they host the Scots of Maryville College