HAMPDEN-SYNDEY, VA-Hampden-Sydney won its ninth overall and second consecutive ODAC Championship despite falling 24-10 to Randolph-Macon in the 2014 regular season finale. Hampden-Sydney becomes the league's first back-to-back champion since 2005. The Tigers, who stand at 7-3 overall 5-2, won the league with to a 2-1 record over the other top three teams - Guilford, Bridgewater, and Emory & Henry. Guilford was also 2-1 against the other top three, and Hampden-Sydney won the head-to-head against the Quakers. Hampden-Sydney advances to its sixth post season in eight years, and will find out its fate tomorrow at 6:00 PM. The selection show can be seen at www.ncaa.com.
Randolph-Macon improves to 5-5 on the season and 3-4 in ODAC play.
The much anticipated match up of "The Game" was a defensive stalemate for much of the first quarter with a 0-0 tie 29 minutes into the action. The Jackets racked up more yards, but the Tiger defense did not break, while keeping the visitors out of the end zone and forced two missed field goals. Randolph-Macon's Zac Naccarato changed that, however, with a three-yard scamper to put the Jackets up 7-0 with 31 seconds to go in the half.
The Jackets continued that momentum in the second half, with John Byrd escaping for a 28-yard run with 5:49 to go in the third quarter.
Hampden-Sydney's offense found its groove two drives later, as Nash Nance (Calhoun, GA/Tennessee) led the team 78 yards in two and a half minutes. After completing four of his six passes for 48 yards, he found Joey Kernan (Derwood, MD/Gonzaga) for a ten-yard score on fourth and seven.
Randolph-Macon fired right back, taking the ensuing drive into the fourth quarter where Byrd ran in for his second touchdown, this one from eight yards out.
After a Nance interception, Randolph-Macon tacked on three more as Seth Yurgel nailed a 39-yarder to go up 24-7 with nine minutes remaining.
Hampden-Sydney did add three more points, taking its next drive 49 yards and ending with a 35-yard field goal from Max Antwerpes (Mainz, Germany/Kenston Forest).
On the day, Hampden-Sydney registered 250 yards of offense via 250 passing and 79 rushing. Nance was 16-of-44 for 171 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Michael Mey (Glen Allen, VA/VMI) led the team with 59 yards on four catches. Owen Costello (South Riding, VA/Paul VI) also had four catches for 17 yards. Holton Walker (Lynchburg, VA/Brookville) had three catches for 39 yards.
Brady Macko (Kill Devil Hills, NC/First Flight) led the rushing attack with 46 yards on eight carries.
Defensively, the Tigers allowed 470 yards on 276 rushing and 194 passing. Naccarato was 13-of-23 for 194 yards while running for 98 yards and a score. Byrd went for 146 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. Mike Doe also had a big day with 147 yards on nine catches.
Josh Doggett (Mechanicsville, VA/Atlee) led all tacklers with 14, including three for loss. Sidney Henry (Haymarket, VA/Battlefield) and Freddie Potter (Haymarket, VA/Battlefield) each had eight tackles, and Nick Martin (Round Hill, VA/Loudoun Valley) added seven.
Hampden-Sydney will play Saturday, November 22 in the first round of the Division III playoffs. The opponent and location will be determined tomorrow at 6:00 pm. The selection show will air at www.ncaa.com.