ODAC poll puts Hampden-Sydney football third

Published 2:12 am Thursday, August 25, 2022

HAMPDEN-SYDNEY – If the pollsters are right, the Tigers of Hampden-Sydney College will have a pretty decent football season. The team was projected to finish third in the 2022 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Football Preseason Poll. 

Hampden-Sydney finished last season with a final record of 5-5 overall, including going 4-2 in ODAC. That was good enough for third place, where they’re expected to end up again. 

Randolph-Macon College was picked first with 48 points, ahead of Washington and Lee University (43), Hampden-Sydney (36), Shenandoah University (29), Ferrum College (26), Bridgewater College (20), newcomer Averett University (15) and Guilford College (7). Randolph-Macon received six first-place votes, while Washington and Lee got the other two first-place votes.

“The past two ODAC Champions are ranked ahead of us,” said Hampden-Sydney head coach Marty Favret. “That seems fair. It should be an exciting fall.”

A look at the Hampden-Sydney team

Favret, who returns for his 23rd year at the helm, has 67 lettermen among the 127-man roster this fall, including 11 starters. Meanwhile, the roster includes a record 60 newcomers to the program. Favret is the second-winningest football coach in school history with 140 victories (140-81), including 15 winning campaigns, while a five-time ODAC Coach of the Year. His program is 90-48 in ODAC games, while earning five ODAC Championships and making six Division III Football Championship appearances.

Hampden-Sydney returns five starters on offense, including fifth-year quarterback and second-year team captain Tanner Bernard (Lynchburg) who was named First Team All-ODAC last fall. He started all 10 games and passed for 2,546 yards and 15 touchdowns, adding 50 yards rushing and two touchdowns, for 2,596 yards of total offense. The Tigers also return offensive starters in junior wide receiver Braeden Bowling (Cary, NC), along with classmates and offensive linemen TJ Minter (Chester), John Mill (Chesterfield) and Jason Southern (Culpeper). Bowling (Second Team All-ODAC) started nine of 10 games with 41 receptions for 828 yards and six touchdowns. Minter (First Team All-ODAC) and Southern each started all 10 games, while Mill started eight of nine.

The Tigers return six starters on defense, including fifth-year defensive tackle Michael Harris (St. Stephens Church) and fifth-year cornerback Jordan Fields (Raleigh, NC), along with four juniors: defensive end Kevin Gholson (Montpelier), cornerback Tobias Lafayette (Charleston, SC), safety Will Pickren (Mount Pleasant, SC) and safety James-Ryan Salvi (Troutville). Harris (Second Team All-ODAC) started all 10 games and had 29 total tackles, including four solo and 25 assists, and 1.5 tackles for loss.

Fields was limited by injury to four starts and had 15 total tackles, including five solo and 10 assists, one tackle for loss and three pass breakups. Gholson (Third Team All-ODAC) started nine of 10 games and had 39 total tackles, including 19 solo and 20 assists, eight tackles for loss, four sacks and two forced fumbles. Lafayette (Second Team All-ODAC) started all 10 games and had 43 total tackles, including 30 solo and 13 assists, 2.5 tackles for loss, five interceptions and nine pass breakups.

Pickren (First Team All-ODAC, 2021 Touchdown Club of Richmond State Small College Defensive Back of the Year, Third TeamD3football.com All-Region 3) started nine of 10 games and had 106 total tackles, including 54 solo and 52 assists, 5.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, and six pass breakups. Salvi started nine games and had 66 total tackles, including 26 solo and 40 assists, four tackles for loss, two interceptions, one pass breakup and one forced fumble.

A look at the staff

Coach Favret is joined by veteran college football coach Tom Clark, in his first season on The Hill, after previously serving as the defensive coordinator at NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) member VMI since 2015. The coaching staff also includes returning assistants Wes Dodson (defensive coordinator), Daryl Grose (tight ends), Zach Zullinger ’07 (offensive line), Tony Talbert ’20 (defensive line and special teams) and Lindell Stone (co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks), along with newcomers Dillon Costello ’21 (receivers), Josh Baker ’22 (running backs) and Brendan Weinberg ’22 (linebackers).

The 10-game regular season schedule begins on the road at Wabash College on September 3 at 1 p.m. in Crawfordsville, Indiana in a renewal of The Gentlemen’s Classic. H-SC will play its home opener against Widener (PA) University on Sept. 10 at 1 p.m. on Fulton Field at Lewis C. Everett Stadium.