EMORY, Va. – The Hampden-Sydney College Football Team (4-2, 2-1 ODAC) scored 24 second-half points en route to a 31-28 come-from-behind win over Emory & Henry College (4-2, 2-1 ODAC) Saturday afternoon at Fred Selfe Stadium. The Old Dominion Athletic Conference contest also served as the highlight to E&H's annual Homecoming celebration.
After punting on their opening two possessions of the game, the Wasps' offense took over on downs at its own 47 yard line. Six plays and 1:20 later, sophomore running back Isaiah Rodgers (Canton, Ga.) rushed to the right corner from seven yards out for the opening touchdown of the game. A 36-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Kevin Saxton (Monroe, N.C.) to senior wide receiver Jake Hess (Abingdon, Va.) set the stage for the first and goal score.
The Emory & Henry defense forced the first turnover of the game on the next drive as senior safety Ryan Byrd (Grottoes, Va.) picked off a pass and returned it 32 yards to the Hampden-Sydney 32. Two plays later, sophomore running back Chris Thompson (Blue Ridge, Va.) found the left corner of the end zone for a 14-0 advantage.
E&H scored its third touchdown on a two-play drive after picking off another HSC pass. This time junior linebacker Rasheen Williams (Charlotte, N.C.) gave the Wasps the ball at the Tiger 28. After an incomplete pass on first down, Saxton hit senior tight end Ashton Cline (Gilbert, W.Va.) with a 28-yard pass, putting Emory & Henry up 21-0 with 12:44 to go before the half.
Hampden-Sydney got a touchdown with 33 seconds left in the second quarter, capping off a six-play, 80-yard drive for the 21-7 score. Edgar Moore found Michael Mey from 24 yards out to put the Tigers on the board. A roughing-the-passer penalty on third down sustained the HSC drive after what looked like it would be another stop for the Wasps' defense.
On the first drive after the break, HSC put together a 12-play, 69-yard strike which took 3:46 off the clock. The Tigers mixed the pass and run for an efficient drive, capped by a three-yard plunge by Mike DeMasi for the touchdown. Hampden-Sydney got the ball back after an Emory & Henry punt and scored its third-straight touchdown, this time Moore connected with Mel Savarese from eight yards out, tying things at 21-all with 7:13 left in the third quarter.
After another Emory & Henry punt, the Hampden-Sydney offense took over and went down the field with an air attack. After a 20-yard catch by Austin Perryman set up first and goal at the five, the Tigers went to Kyree Koonce on fourth-and-one from the one to take their first lead of the game 28-21.
Emory & Henry responded with a touchdown on the ensuing possession, as Rodgers ran it in from 10 yards out, capping a seven-play, 61-yard drive. A 34-yard pass from Saxton to redshirt freshman wideout Kelman Simpson (Asheville, N.C.) flipped the field and kept the Wasps' offensive machine rolling.
The fourth quarter turned into a defensive struggle until Hampden-Sydney got the ball on its own 18 yardline and streaked down the field, 77 yards to set up a 22-yard field goal with five seconds left on the clock. Liam Hedge split the uprights, giving the Tigers a 31-28 lead.
Emory & Henry took the ensuing kickoff to midfield and with one second remaining was able to run a final offensive play. A pair of laterals got the Wasps down to the Hampden-Sydney 15 yardline, but no farther as the final score would remain 31-28.
Moore led the way for the Tigers with 460 yards on 36-for-54 passing and two touchdowns despite a trio of interceptions. Cam Johnson caught 11 passes for 158 yards while Mey had six receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown and Savarese finshed the day with a touchdown on 42 yards receiving. Koonce rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown while DeMasi ended the game with 37 yards.
Offensively for Emory & Henry, Saxton went 15-for-31 for 231 yards and a touchdown, hitting seven different receivers on the day. Hess had five catches for 81 yards while Cline caught a pair of passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. Rodgers led all rushers with 83 yards and two scores while Thompson finished the game with 43 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
The E&H defense was led by senior linebacker Rennel Marshall (Rustburg, Va.) with a game-high 15 tackles while Byrd added 10 stops, a tackle for loss and an interception. Williams had eight tackles to go with his pick while sophomore corner Nashiem Ausar (Snellville, Ga.) added five tackles to his interception.
Hampden-Sydney's defensive unit spread the wealth with nine players totaling four or more tackles. Nick Martin and Sidney Henry each had six stops to lead the way.
Emory & Henry will look to rebound next Saturday when it travels to Washington D.C., for an ODAC contest against The Catholic University of America. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m.
-photo courtesy of Dave Grace