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Drawing a line in the sand

Hampden-Sydney College’s football team is focused on bouncing back this weekend from a 51-7 homecoming loss last weekend against undefeated Bridgewater College.

The Tigers (1-5, 0-4 ODAC) look to snap a four-game losing streak when they host Shenandoah University (3-2, 2-2 ODAC) in an Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) showdown Saturday at 1 p.m.

“In my mind, I think this is a really important game for us,” Hampden-Sydney Head Coach Marty Favret said. “I’m not going to say a playoff game, but we need to find a way to win.”

Favret pointed out that Shenandoah is good.

“They’ve played well,” he said. “They competed against (Randolph-)Macon (College) last week, they were down 7-0 at the half.”

Looking at his own team’s seniors and his players overall, Favret said, “I just think this is a kind of like, ‘Let’s draw the line in the sand’ kind of game. We’re at home. We obviously haven’t played well the last couple weeks, but this is kind of a big gut check for us, so I don’t know if I’ve invested more in the game plans and all that in this week. We’re ready to go, and I think it’s kind of a little bit of a litmus test for us.”

He noted that the Hornets beat his team last year and will pose a significant challenge with their passing attack.

“We obviously are not taking anybody lightly right now,” he said.

Injuries continue to be a factor that shape the Tigers’ season, though they do expect to get back junior tight end Ed Newman, a former Fuqua School standout.

“Ed’s going to be fine, and Dillon (Costello) and Major (Morgan), who have not been able to practice much, they should be fine,” Favret said. “Kaleb (Smith), probably not. So we’re not quite where I would like us to be, but no complaints. We’ll deal with what we have to do.”

Hampden-Sydney has struggled to establish its passing game this season, and Favret indicated that a variety of factors have contributed to senior quarterback Clay Vick’s stats, which include only seven touchdown passes to 16 interceptions in six games.

“He’s competing,” the coach said of Vick, “and it’s been a struggle, and the numbers don’t look good, but I believe in him, and if we’re going to have success over these next four games, it’s going to be him playing better and me coaching better. But yeah, it hasn’t been the way we mapped it out. He needs a running game, and we need to give him a running game, and we haven’t been able to do that.”