Tigers Clinch ODAC, Playoff Berth with 42-35 Win

HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, VA-Hampden-Sydney clinched the 2011 ODAC Championship after downing Washington & Lee - the one ODAC team to best the Tigers since 2008 - by a score of 42-35. The Championship marks the seventh in school history and third in 2007. The Tigers now stand at 8-1 overall and a perfect 5-0 in ODAC play. Washington & Lee ends its regular season at 8-2 overall and 5-1 in conference. The win also secures a playoff berth for the Tigers, the third in as many years.

The win puts the senior class, who was honored in their last regular season home game, at 35-4 for their career.

The Tigers came out with a bang in front of a raucous crowd, while taking a 21-0 lead into the half. The Tiger defense set the tone first, forcing the Generals into a three-and-out to start the game. Hampden-Sydney responded by marching down the field and scoring as Travis Lane (Richmond, VA/Mills Godwin) hit Eric Gorsline (Virginia Beach, VA/Norfolk Academy) for a 29-yard strike.

With a 7-0 lead, the defense stayed fired up, allowing just 33 yards on the next drive while forcing another punt. The Generals' defense stepped up as well, and the two teams traded punts. Lane then righted the ship on the Tigers next drive - which went into the second quarter. The senior quarterback was 3-for-3 75 yards - including a 42-yard pass to Sean Cavanagh (Midlothian, VA/Clover Hill) - in the Tigers' nine play, 85 yard scoring effort. Senior running back Kirk Rohle (Mechanicsville, VA/Hanover) capped off the drive with a one-yard score.

The Generals' ensuing drive was cut short as freshman Josh Doggett (Mechanicsville, VA/Atlee) picked off Charlie Westfal at the Washington & Lee 22-yard line and returned it to the two. Two plays later, Rohle was in the end zone for the second time to take a 21-0 lead with 11:35 to play in the half.

Dogget came up huge on the ensuing drive, teaming up with Alex Price (Fairfax, VA/Fairfax) to stop Westfal short of the first down on 4th-and-11 on the Hampden-Sydney 25-yard line.

Washington & Lee again came running reaching the Hampden-Sydney 10-yard line. Sean Stewart (Alexandria, VA/Mount Vernon) halted the drive with an interception in the end zone.

Though neither team tacked on any more points in the half, Hampden-Sydney was dialed in as they received the ball to start the second half. It looked bleak for the Tigers, who stood at 3rd-and-23, but Lane hit Cavanagh again for a 40-yard reception to put the Tigers on the Generals' 15-yard line. Two plays later, Lane hit Kyle Vance (Onley, VA/Broadwater Academy) for his first score of the day and a 28-0 lead. 

The Generals then hit their stride, scoring on the ensuing drive on a Westfal one-yard run. After stopping the Tigers, they came right back down with a Brett Murray four-yard touchdown to make it a 28-14 game at the 2:32 mark in the third.

The Tigers fired right back, as Cavanagh caught a 23-yard touchdown pass just under three minutes later.

The back-and-forth offensive shootout continued, as Westfal hit Alex Evans for a 36-yard touchdown 1:49 later, to keep it a two possession game at 35-21.

It took Hampden-Sydney just a minute and a half to tack on seven more as Vance found the end zone again for a 15-yard touchdown from Lane.

The Generals were not fazed, taking under two minutes to put it back at a two possession game. Westfal threw his second touchdown of the game, this one to Cody Smith for 31 yards, to put his team down 42-28 with 9:07 to play.

With the lead and the ball, Hampden-Sydney was able to extend its next drive for almost eight minutes. The Tigers, however, were not able to extend the lead as Washington & Lee managed to block the 28-yard field goal attempt.

The Generals marched down the field for a Westfal to Evans touchdown, but after Vance recovered the onside kick, the Tigers took a knee to claim the 2011 ODAC Championship.

On the day, Lane was 21-of-33 for 331 and four touchdowns. Vance was the lead receiver with nine catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Cavanagh caught seven balls for 131 yards and a score. On the ground, Rohle ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries.

Defensively, Doggett had a breakout game with a team-high 10 tackles, 2.5 for loss, and an interception. Stewart and Shreve Rohle (Mechanicsville, VA/Hanover) each tallied eight stops. Mark Poydence (Cranberry Township, PA/Seneca Valley) and Kenny Fryman (Mechanicsville, VA/Hanover) each had seven tackles.

For the Generals, Westfal was 16-of-34 for 243 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Evans caught a team-best seven passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, Luke Heinsohn rushed for 113 yards on 16 carries, while Westfal ran for 73 yards and a score on 18 carries. Defensively, Rob Look led the way with 12 tackles.

Hampden-Sydney will return to action this Saturday, November 12, as it travels to Ashland, Virginia to face arch-rival Randolph-Macon in the 117th edition of the Game. The Tigers will then wait to hear their postseason plans, with the first round of the NCAA Division III Playoffs beginning Saturday, November 19.