HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, VA-Junior receiver Holton Walker (Lynchburg, VA/Brookville) hauled in 14 receptions and a school-record 235 yards to go with two touchdowns as the Tigers claimed a season opening 42-12 win over Averett. Walker's 235 yards are also fifth best in ODAC history. For the sixth straight year, the Tigers start their season at 1-0.
Despite the big win, it was Averett that got on the scoreboard first and did so early. After the Tigers fumbled the opening kickoff on the six-yard line, the Cougars capitalized on a Kirkland Brown six-yard pass to Blake Lewis. The Cougars failed to convert the extra point and led 6-0.
Averett kept that lead for almost ten minutes, but junior quarterback Nash Nance (Calhoun, GA/Tennessee) led the Tigers on an eight play, 90 yard drive that ended in the play caller scoring on a one-yard run.
After three consecutive punts, the Tigers struck again, this time on a 48-yard pass from Nance to Walker to up the lead to 14-6.
Six minutes later, Nance got his second six-point pass of the day with a five-yard connection with Joey Kernan (Derwood, MD/Gonzaga) putting the Tigers up 21-6 at intermission.
The Tigers' defense came out ready to start the second half, forcing a three-and-out while pushing the Cougars back eight yards. The offense took advantage, and just two plays later, Walker was in the end zone on a 56-yard touchdown pass.
Averett fired right back as Brown hit Justin Gillespie for an eight-yard pass, but on the ensuing drive, Nance ran into the end zone for the second time on the day putting the Tigers up 35-12 nearing the end of three quarters.
After the Hampden-Sydney defense forced another three-and-out – this one for negative yards – Nance capped off the scoring efforts for the Tigers with an 11-yard strike to Mike Goad (Chesterfield, VA/Matoaca).
Offensively, the Tigers exploded for 588 yards with 372 coming through the air and 216 on the ground. Nance was nearly flawless, going 24-for-28 for 372 yards and four touchdowns; on the ground, he ran for 75 yards and two more touchdowns.
Chris Shembo (Charlotte, NC/Charlotte Country Day) ran for 57 yards on 18 carries, and Brady Macko (Kill Devil Hills, NC/First Flight) and Mitch Pereira (Midlothian, VA/Midlothian) had 45 and 43 yards, respectively.
Kernan caught three passes for 60 yards and a score, and Shembo had three receptions for 30 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, Hampden-Sydney held Averett to 129 total yards of offense while forcing seven three-and-outs. Tyler Ikwild (Philomont, VA/Loudoun Valley) led the way with seven tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss, and one sack. Zach Morgan (Virginia Beach, VA/Ocean Lakes) and Charlie Shoemaker (Charlotte, NC/Myers Park) each recorded five tackles.
Hampden-Sydney hits the road next week to face Christopher Newport on Saturday, September 14. Kickoff is set for 7:00 pm. Tickets can be purchased through CNU's ticket office.