Hampden-Sydney falls to 16th-ranked Randolph-Macon in “The Game”

Published 12:17 am Sunday, November 13, 2022

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Fifth-year quarterback Tanner Bernard of Lynchburg passed for a game-high 203 yards and one touchdown, but Hampden-Sydney College fell just short Saturday. The Tigers dropped a 38-17 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) football decision at home to No. 16 Randolph-Macon College in the 127th edition of “The Game”.

The host Tigers trailed 17-14 at halftime, and 24-17 after three quarters, before the visiting Yellow Jackets scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns en route to their road win. H-SC completes the 2022 season with a final record of 5-5 overall, including 4-3 in the ODAC, while R-MC finishes the regular season unbeaten at 10-0 overall, 7-0 in the ODAC-for the conference championship and automatic entry into next weekend’s NCAA Tournament.

Hampden-Sydney takes control

H-SC took possession after the opening kickoff and scored quickly when junior running back Melik Frost of Hardeeville, South Carolina broke loose on a third-and-two, sprinting 67 yards to the end zone at 14:08 of the first quarter. Freshman placekicker Elijah Swett of Matthews, North Carolina added the PAT kick and the Tigers led 7-0. It was a three-play, 75-yard drive.

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R-MC answered back on its first possession when Andrew Ihle scored on a six-yard run, and the PAT kick was good by Kyle Ihle, tying it at 7-7 with 7:19 on the clock. The Yellow Jackets took a 14-7 advantage early in the second quarter when Nick Hale scored on an eight-yard run at 14:55, followed by Kyle Ihle’s PAT.

The Tigers responded on their next possession, as well, as Bernard connected with junior wide receiver Jamahdia Whitby of Williamsburg on a 56-yard pass play down the sideline for a touchdown at 12:44. The PAT by Swett tied it at 14-14, following the five-play, 75-yard drive that also included a 13-yard completion from Bernard to senior tight end David Byler of Virginia Beach.

R-MC took a 17-14 halftime lead after a 33-yard field goal by Kyle Ihle with 4:33 left in the second quarter. The visitors looked to increase the margin on the final play of the half via another field goal, but sophomore cornerback Kyle Lafayette of Charleston, South Carolina blocked the 29-yard attempt.

Yellow Jackets control ‘The Game’

The Yellow Jackets pushed their advantage to 24-14 early in the third quarter when Drew Campanale connected with David Wallis for a 78-yard pass play at 10:44, the PAT again by Kyle Ihle.

H-SC answered back again when Swett was good on a 23-yard field goal with 4:07 left in the third quarter to make it a 24-17 contest. It was a 13-play, 69-yard drive that included a 30-yard completions from Bernard to junior wide receiver Braeden Bowling of Cary, North Carolina.

Unfortunately, the fourth quarter saw R-MC add two unanswered touchdowns to secure the victory. The first score was a one-yard run by Campanale at 10:04, and the second score was a two-yard run by Hale at 4:51-Kyle Ihle added both PATs. The Tigers never threatened over the final 15 minutes.

Bernard passed for a game-high 203 yards (20-32-1) and one touchdown with one interception for H-SC. Frost rushed for 91 yards on 13 attempts and one touchdown. Whitby had 62 yards receiving on three receptions and one touchdown, while Bowling finished with 71 yards receiving on seven catches and freshman wide receiver Mason Cunningham of Arlington added 42 yards receiving on six receptions.

‘The Game’: By the numbers

Junior safety James-Ryan Salvi of Troutville finished with a game-high and career-high 18 tackles and one pass breakup to lead the Tigers on defense. Junior safety Will Pickren of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina had 15 tackles, junior linebacker Dorian Green of Martinsville finished with 12 tackles, fifth-year cornerback Jordan Fields of Chapel Hill, North Carolina had nine tackles, sophomore defensive end Brendan Wallace of Virginia Beach added eight tackles and fifth-year defensive tackle Michael Harris of Ashland had six tackles, including one sack (for a tackle for loss).

Campanale passed for 198 yards (11-16) and one touchdown with no interceptions for R-MC, adding 40 yards on the ground and one touchdown. Hale had a game-high 148 yards rushing on 25 attempts and two touchdowns, while Kwesi Clarke added 118 yards rushing on 24 carries and Andrew Ihle had eight yards on three attempts and one touchdown. Wallis had a game-high 120 yards receiving on three receptions and one touchdowns. Dominick Staples finished with six tackles for the Yellow Jackets.

Senior Day tribute

H-SC does continue to lead the Oldest Small School Rivalry in the South, 60-56-11, though R-MC has now won nine-straight and 11 of the last 12 games played between the two storied programs.

It was Senior Day for the Tigers and 14 outstanding young men were recognized during a special pregame ceremony. Quarterback and second-year Team Captain Tanner Bernard … Cornerback and Team Captain Jordan Fields … Defensive Tackle and Team Captain Michael Harris … Linebacker Matt Bordfeld … Wide Receiver Gage Bradley … Tight End David Byler … Safety Sage Kallam … Cornerback Jabril Lewis … Linebacker Cullen Lyons … Running Back Landon Porter … Tight End Braxton Psuik … Safety Will Shulleeta … Wide Receiver Talen Smith … Linebacker Hunter Spence.