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H-SC looks to open with intensity on the gridiron

The Hampden-Sydney College (H-SC) football team is opening the 2017 season at home Saturday with confidence and aiming to turn the tables on Averett University, which handed the Tigers a 38-28 road loss last season.

Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

“I think it’s an important game for us psychologically, having lost to them a year ago,” H-SC Head Coach Marty Favret said. “We’re at home. We’re treating it like a playoff game. They’re a good team, and we feel like we’re vastly improved, so it’ll be a good test.”

He noted he hopes to avoid three inches of rain and that everyone stays healthy.

As for how his team is different from the one that fell to the Cougars last year, Favret said, “We’re a year older.”

“We lost our starting quarterback in the first half of that game last year, so with Alec (Cobb) having nine games under his belt, we feel that he’s 100 percent better than he was in September of last year,” the coach said. “So, we’re more confident. We’ve had two pretty good tests in preseason. … I just feel like we’re more ready for gameday speed than we were last year at this time. And obviously being at home gives us a little comfort level as well.”

Junior Alec Cobb begins this season as the clear No. 1 option for the Tigers at quarterback.

“He’s had a great camp,” Favret said. “I think he’s completed 85 percent of his passes in the two scrimmages we’ve had, so he looks the part. We’ve got Cam Johnson back, obviously, and Major Morgan — we’ve got two great targets outside, and I think we have a chance to be really good on offense.”

Johnson, a senior, is a former standout from Buckingham County High School.

On defense, H-SC will need to contain junior running back Sean Bowman.

“He hurt us last year,” Favret said, adding that for the season, “he rushed for over 1,100 yards. He’s the focal point of their offensive attack. … He’s a real good player and probably one of the better backs we’ll see this year, so certainly on defense, that’s a key for us.”

The coach noted that in years past, Averett has had a dynamic return man, “so special teams, as usual in openers, is going to be a big focus as well … And defensively, they’ve got a lot of guys back. They’ve got a lot of really good players, good speed. They got a corner that transferred from Guilford (College) that’s really, really good.”

Johnson and Morgan will likely have to contend with the player Favret referred to, senior cornerback Tyriek Able.