Hampden-Sydney Tigers fall in season-opening shootout

Published 9:25 pm Saturday, September 3, 2022

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. – Fifth-year quarterback Tanner Bernard (Lynchburg) passed for 339 yards and a career-high four touchdowns, and ran for another score, but the Hampden-Sydney Tigers dropped a 52-48 season-opening game on Saturday, Sept. 4.

The team had traveled to Wabash College in a renewal of The Gentlemen’s Classic at Little Giants Stadium in Crawfordsville, Indiana. The visiting Hampden-Sydney Tigers led 14-3 after one quarter, 28-17 at halftime, and 35-30 after three quarters, before the host Little Giants rallied with 22 points in the fourth quarter for their home win. H-SC is 0-1 overall, while Wabash is 1-0 overall-improving to 3-0 against the Tigers in The Gentlemen’s Classic.

Getting things started

Bernard got it started with a one-yard touchdown run at 9:45 of the first quarter, capping a 12-play, 87-yard opening possession. Senior placekicker Jack Breedlove (Atlanta, GA) added the first of his six PATs for the early 7-0 lead. Key plays included a three-yard run by junior running back Melik Frost (Hardeeville, SC) on fourth-and-one, and a 25-yard pass from Bernard to junior running back Josh Jones (South Hill) on third-and-10.

Wabash answered with a 22-yard field goal by Brigham Anderson at 6:57 to make it 7-3.

Bernard found senior tight end David Byler (Virginia Beach) for a 16-yard scoring pass at 3:53 to finish an eight-play, 74-yard drive, and Breedlove’s PAT had the Tigers ahead 14-3. Key plays included a 47-yard pass from Bernard to junior wide receiver Braeden Bowling (Cary, NC), and a 15-yard pass from Bernard to Byler on third-and-eight.

Wabash closed to within 14-10 at 13:22 of the second quarter after Liam Thompson connected with Derek Allen on a six-yard scoring pass. Anderson added the first of his five PATs on the day.

Hampden-Sydney Tigers answer

The Tigers answered right back with a 35-yard touchdown run by Frost at 11:34 that completed a quick four-play, 83-yard possession. Breedlove’s PAT pushed the advantage to 21-10. Bernard connected with Bowling on a 40-yard pass to start the drive.

Wabash responded even quicker with a 75-yard scoring pass from Thompson to Allen at 11:24, and the PAT by Anderson made it a 21-17 contest.

The Hampden-Sydney Tigers were able to post a late touchdown before halftime when Bernard found senior wide receiver Talen Smith (Ruther Glen) for a 26-yard scoring pass with just 16-seconds on the clock, capping a six-play, 57-yard drive. Breedlove’s PAT put the visitors ahead 28-17 at the intermission. It was Smith’s first career touchdown.

Wabash scored on the first possession of the third quarter when Thompson ran in from two yards at 12:18, and the Anderson PAT closed the margin to 28-24.

Hampden-Sydney responds

H-SC answered with a touchdown on its first possession of the quarter, as well, getting an eight-yard scoring pass from Bernard to junior wide receiver Jamahdia Whitby (Williamsburg) at 8:12 to complete a nine-play, 65-yard drive. The PAT from Breedlove increased the margin to 35-24. Key to drive was an 11-yard run by Frost on third-and-five. It was Whitby’s first career touchdown.

Wabash responded with an eight-yard scoring pass of its own from Thompson to Cooper Sullivan at 5:35, but Anderson missed the PAT, and the Little Giants trailed 35-30 after three quarters.

H-SC scored again early in the wild fourth quarter when Bernard found Byler for a three-yard scoring pass at 14:25, capping a 13-play, 72-yard possession. Breedlove’s PAT made it a 42-30 contest. Bernard and Whitby kept the drive alive with a 21-yard connection on third-and-17.

Wabash scored the first of its three touchdowns in the final 15 minutes when Thompson and Allen connected on a 27-yard scoring play at 11:27. Anderson’s PAT made it 42-37. The Little Giants added their second touchdown of the quarter when Thompson ran to the end zone from 26 yards out at 8:56 on third-and-13. Thompson then found Allen for the two-point conversion and the hosts took their first lead of the day at 45-42.

H-SC, however, answered right back when Frost scored on a 19-yard touchdown run at 6:07 to finish a quick seven-play, 73-yard drive. The scoring run by Frost was on fourth-and-one. Unfortunately, the PAT was blocked and the lead was 48-45. Bernard jump-started the possession with completions of 12 yards to Byler and 22 yards and 11 yards, respectively, to sophomore wide receiver Austin Fernandez (Warrenton).

The two teams traded possessions before Wabash was able to score the game-winning touchdown with just 46-seconds remaining on the clock. Donovan Snyder found the end zone on a 16-yard run, and the PAT by Anderson provided for the final 52-48 margin.

Bernard passed for 339 yards (27-40) and the career-best four touchdowns with one late interception, adding a touchdown on the ground, as well, for H-SC. Frost rushed for a career-high 98 yards on 17 attempts and two touchdown, adding eight yards receiving on one catch, and Jones added 63 yards on 12 carries with 26 yards receiving on three catches. Byler had a career-high 94 yards receiving on a career-best eight receptions and two touchdowns, while Smith finished with a career-high 43 yards receiving on three catches and one touchdown, and Whitby had a career-high 32 yards receiving on three receptions and one touchdown. Bowling added 90 yards receiving on three receptions.

Junior safety James-Ryan Salvi (Troutville) finished with a game-high 15 tackles to lead the Tigers on defense. Junior linebacker Jaylin Jones (Rustburg) added eight tackles, including one tackle for loss, while junior linebacker Dorian Green (Martinsville) had seven tackles.

Thompson passed for a game-high 380 yards (23-37) and four touchdowns with no interceptions, adding a game-high 102 yards rushing on 15 carries and two touchdowns for Wabash. Donovan had 61 yards rushing on 18 attempts and one touchdown. Allen had a game-high 160 yards receiving on seven receptions and three touchdowns, while Sullivan added 33 yards receiving on four catches and one touchdown. Mike Holsclaw, Joe Rios and Steven Thomas each finished with eight tackles for the Little Giants.

H-SC returns home next week to welcome non-conference opponent Widener (PA) University for its home opener on Saturday, September 10, at 1 p.m. on Fulton Field at Lewis C. Everett Stadium.