WASHINGTON, D.C.-Hampden-Sydney football dropped its 2012 ODAC opening game on the road as the Cardinals of Catholic University claimed a 41-28 victory at Cardinal Stadium. The Tigers, at 2-2 overall, begin the conference slate at 0-1 while Catholic – also 2-2 – stands at 1-0 in conference play. Catholic jumped out to an early lead and was able to withstand a 21-7 fourth quarter in favor of Hampden-Sydney.
The Tiger defense stopped Catholic on the initial drive of the game, but a Hampden-Sydney interception led to the Cardinals scoring on a Mike Pitsenberger one-yard run on its second drive of the game. Catholic then scored again on the first play of the second quarter as the 26-yard reception by Alonzo Cooke put Catholic up 14-0.
Hampden-Sydney found a groove on the ensuing drive, and eight plays and 65 yards later, senior John Michael Sparagna (Mechanicsville, VA/Old Dominion) crossed the goal line on a three-yard reception from sophomore Nash Nance (Calhoun, GA/Tennessee).
Catholic fired right back, however, scoring three minutes later on a 42-yard Cooke reception. Patrick Rooney did not convert on the extra point and the Cardinals led 20-7. Neither team would score in the final nine minutes of the half.
The third quarter saw two more Cardinal scores – each from Pitsenberger on one- and two-yard scampers.
The Tigers found life in the fourth quarter after a three-and-out from the defense led to a high snap on Catholic's punt attempt, giving the Tigers a first-and-ten from the Catholic 15-yard line. It took senior running back Regis Craft (Burkeville, VA/Nottoway) just one try to run into the end zone to make it a 34-14 ball game.
Catholic was able to take over five minutes off of the clock before responding with a Nick Cortese four-yard touchdown run.
Hampden-Sydney then showed its speed, taking three plays and 50 seconds for Nance to hit Holton Walker (Lynchburg, VA/Brookville) for a 37-yard score. Max Antwerpes (Mainz, Germany/Kenston Forest) then kicked a perfect onsides kick that Walker recovered.
The sophomore receiver was not finished his stellar fourth quarter as he caught his second touchdown pass of the day – this one from 26 yards out – 27 seconds after the recovery.
The comeback, however, stopped at 41-28 as the Tigers could not score in their final two attempts.
As a team, Hampden-Sydney tallied 251 yards of offense on 198 passing yards and 53 rushing. Walker had a game-high 150 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions. Evan King (Lewisburg, WV/Episcopal) led the rushing attack with 66 yards on 17 carries. Nance was 16-of-40 for 198 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Senior linebacker Kenny Fryman (Mechanicsville, VA/Hanover) led the defensive charge with a game-high 20 tackles. Steven Fogleman (Mechanicsville, VA/Hanover) was not far behind with 18, while Alex Price (Fairfax, VA/Fairfax) and Tyler Ikwild (Philomont, VA/Loudoun Valley) recorded 12 and 11, respectively.
Catholic racked up 428 yards of offense with 302 passing and 126 rushing. Pitensberger hit the ground 20 times with 67 yards and three touchdowns. Cooke hauled in ten passes for 135 yards and a pair of scores. Senior Greg Cordivari completed 26 of his 38 passing attempts for 302 yards and two touchdowns. The Cardinals were led defensively by Joe Tretter and Connor Stueckler who each recorded seven tackles and combined for 2.5 tackles-for-loss and one sack.
Hampden-Sydney remains on the road next week and returns to action against the Eagles of Bridgewater College. Kick off is set for 1:00 pm.