Tigers roll past Ferrum, as season approaches midpoint

Published 2:48 am Sunday, October 8, 2023

It started out competitive, but after one quarter, the Hampden-Sydney Tigers took control Saturday and didn’t look back. They dominated the visiting Ferrum Panthers 48-10 mainly on the strength of senior quarterback Andrew Puccinelli’s arm. Puccinelli passed for 296 yards and four touchdowns, while sophomore wide receiver Mason Cunningham registered a season-high 109 yards receiving and two touchdowns. 

Ferrum got things started early, as Braxton Hughes connected with Marquise Woodruff on a 29-yard touchdown pass at 8:28 of the opening quarter. Seth Deaton added the PAT kick for the early 7-0 advantage. Hampden-Sydney answered back with a one-yard touchdown run by senior tailback Melik Frost at 3:48, and sophomore placekicker Elijah Swett added the first of his six PAT kicks to tie it at 7-7 after 15 minutes. It was an 11-play, 70-yard possession that also included a 39-yard completion from Puccinelli to junior wide receiver Austin Fernandez (Warrenton) and a 13-yard completion to Cunningham.

The Panthers took their last lead at 13-10 following a 31-yard field goal by Deaton at 11:54 of the second quarter. And then Hampden-Sydney took over. The Tigers added two second-quarter touchdown passes from Puccinelli to Cunningham, then sophomore Joseph Gonzalez took the second half kickoff 91 yards to make it 28-10. By the end of the third quarter, Hampden-Sydney was winning 41-10. 

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The Tigers closed out the scoring early in the fourth quarter when Frost scored on another one-yard touchdown run at 13:32. The PAT by Swett provided for the final 48-10 margin that completed a quick five-play, 50-yard possession-aided by a 34-yard completion from Puccinelli to Fernandez.

Hampden-Sydney, by the numbers

Frost rushed for his game-high and season-high 108 yards on 19 attempts and two touchdowns for Hampden-Sydney. Puccinelli’s four passing touchdowns tied his career high. Meanwhile on the defensive side, senior defensive end and team captain Tramell Thompson finished with a career-high and game-high 10 tackles.

Senior All-American safety Will Pickren and senior linebacker Dorian Green each had eight tackles, including three solo by Pickren, along with 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack by Green. Junior linebacker Jackson Lott added seven tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack, while sophomore safety Jaylan Long added six tackles.

What’s next for the Tigers? 

With the win, Hampden-Sydney improves to 3-2 on the season, 1-1 in Old Dominion Athletic Conference play. The Panthers drop to 2-3 on the year. Up next, Hampden-Sydney will play on the road next weekend at ODAC opponent Averett University on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 4 p.m.in Danville.