EMORY, Va. – The Emory & Henry College Football Team (1-0) opened up a 38-7 halftime lead en route to a 55-7 thrashing of visiting Ferrum College (0-1) Saturday afternoon at Fred Selfe Stadium. The contest marked the ninth-straight victory for the Wasps over the Panthers, all of which have come in the season-opening game.
The 55 points scored by Emory & Henry is the most ever against a Ferrum team and the 48-point margin of victory also eclipses a series record. The previous top marks for the series were set in 2007 when the Wasps defeated the Panthers, 50-7, a 43-point win. E&H also made it five straight years scoring 40 or more points against FC.
The College celebrated the induction of the 2015 class of the Emory & Henry Sports Hall of Fame during halftime and "The Pride of Emory & Henry" Marching Band made its debut in front of a packed house.
Emory & Henry got out to a 10-0 lead after the first quarter, breaking into the scoring column on a 30-yard field goal by freshman Skyler Simcox (Abingdon, Va.). The Wasps made it 10-0 with 3:25 to go in the opening quarter after sophomore linebacker Andrew Long (Asheville, N.C.) recovered a fumble and returned it 46 yards to pay dirt.
The E&H offense found its groove in the second 15 minutes, scoring four touchdowns. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Kelman Simpson (Asheville, N.C.) capped off a 10-play, 63-yard drive with a five yard reception from sophomore quarterback Kevin Saxton (Monroe, N.C.) for the first offensive score of the game.
After the Wasps' defense forced a three-and-out, the offense got back on the field and stayed hot, streaking 72 yards in seven plays which took just 1:55 off the clock. Senior tight end Ashton Cline (Gilbert, W.Va.) hauled in a pass in the left corner of the end zone for the touchdown.
Ferrum was able to get its option offense to start clicking midway through the second period, putting together an 11-play drive which covered 80 yards and melted 5:20. Joe Barton put the Panthers on the board with his eight-yard run into the end zone.
On its next possession, Emory & Henry answered back, this time going down the field 64 yards in just 1:48. Sophomore running back Chris Thompson (Blue Ridge, Va.) picked up where he left off in 2014, running in from four yards out for the score.
The E&H defense forced its third turnover of the half and gave the offense a short field for the fifth touchdown in a row. Sophomore running back Isaiah Rodgers (Canton, Ga.) punched it in to make the halftime score 38-7 with his seven-yard touchdown run.
The third quarter saw the offense cool off with the only scoring coming on a 33-yard field goal by Simcox to stretch the advantage to 41-7. Ferrum sustained back-to-back drives of more than 10 plays and 50 yards but saw the possessions end on an interception and a turnover on downs.
E&H added two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter for the final 55-7 score. Sophomore wide receiver Nick Webb (Troutville, Va.) caught a 28-yard pass from Saxton while freshman running back Sam Wagner (Marion, Va.) had back-to-back rushes in the waning seconds of the game. Wagner blew through the line from two yards out for the exclamation point and record-setting touchdown after converting a third-and-long a play earlier.
Emory & Henry rushed for 240 yards and passed for 203 for a total of 443 yards of offense. The Wasps "Spread-and-Shred" offense only held the ball for 23:17, but was efficient as it averaged 6.1 yards per play including 5.7 per rush in the contest.
Saxton threw for 199 yards and three touchdowns on 16-for-30 passing. Thompson led the rushers with 82 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries while Simpson rushed three times for 33 yards and caught seven passes for 66 yards and a score. Redshirt freshman quarterback Dominic Dunnaville (Roanoke, Va.) ran the ball six times for 42 yards while Webb and redshirt freshman wideout Tyree Ward (Statesville, N.C.) caught two and three passes, respectively, for 42 yards each. Simcox finished his debut a perfect seven-for-seven on PATs and went two-for-two on field goals.
Senior safety Ryan Byrd (Grottoes, Va.) led all players with 11 tackles including a sack for eight yards and 2.5 tackles for a 15-yard loss. Senior linebacker Rennel Marshall (Rustburg, Va.) had seven stops, 1.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery while junior defensive tackle Tyler Tune (Rocky Mount, Va.) added seven tackles of his own. Junior corner Tre'von Lightfoot (Big Island, Va.) picked off a pair of passes and broke up a third to go along with six tackles.
Ferrum's offense only managed to gain 233 yards on the afternoon despite controlling the time of possession by over 13 minutes. The Panthers were six-of-14 on third down but were undone by six turnovers in the contest.
Troy Helton led the Ferrum with 49 yards rushing and 58 yards passing, going three-for-nine from the pocket. Michael Hunter had 29 yards on the ground while Barton finished the game with 25 yards and the Panthers' only score. Chris Guy caught all four passes completed on the afternoon for 75 yards. Defensively, Kwajay Witcher had 11 tackles while Shy Smith added nine stops.
Emory & Henry will have its annual Bye Week next week but will remain at home on Saturday, September 19 when it hosts Maryville (Tenn.) College. Kickoff between the Wasps and Scots is set for 6:00 p.m., in what will be the Wasps' first night game at home since the 1980 season.
-photo courtesy of Dave Grace