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Tigers Hang On for Nail Biting 38-36 Win

Sean Cavanagh

EMORY, VA-Hampden-Sydney looked like it was in total control early in its ODAC match up with Emory and Henry, holding a 19-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Wasps came back throughout the game, and rallied for a furious comeback and a chance to eliminate a 14 point deficit in just over a minute. Emory & Henry was able to make it a 38-36 game with a DaVon Ross touchdown catch with time expired, but the Wasps could not convert on the two-point conversion falling to 4-3 on the year and 1-2 in ODAC play. The Tigers, however, improve to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in conference.

The Tigers had some early breaks to help build their early lead. The Wasps fumbled both the opening kickoff, and the Tigers' first punt. Starting the drives at the 25- and 10-yard lines, Evan King (Lewisburg, WV/Episcopal) and Kirk Rohle (Mechanicsville, VA/Hanover) were each able to pound the ball into the end zone. The Wasps blocked Hampden-Sydney's second PAT to put the game at 13-0 just over five minutes into the game.

After the Tiger defense held its ground and forced a punt, the offense went back to work, starting on its own 14-yard line. Travis Lane (Richmond, VA/Mills Godwin) was 4-of-5 in the drive with all four passes going for over ten yards. He hit Kyle Vance (Onley, VA/Broadwater Academy) for 23, Eric Gorsline (Virginia Beach, VA/Norfolk Academy) for 18, and Sean Cavanagh (Midlothian, VA/Clover Hill) twice for 42 yards and a touchdown. Hampden-Sydney failed to convert the two-point attempt, but lead 19-0 ten minutes into the game.

Emory and Henry gained momentum on its next drive quickly driving into Tiger territory. Standing at third-and-seven at the Hampden-Sydney 20-yard line, Grady Bing (Richmond, VA/Mills Godwin) held quarterback Kyle Boden at the line of scrimmage for force fourth-and-seven. The Wasps went for it, but were stopped short of the first down by Kenny Fryman (Mechanicsville, VA/Hanover) and Alex Price (Fairfax, VA/Fairfax).

Hampden-Sydney was held to a three-and-out, and Emory and Henry capitalized on the first play of the second quarter with a Corey Ware 24-yard touchdown reception.

On the ensuing Tiger drive, Hampden-Sydney fired right back with an eight play, 80 yard drive that was capped off with a seven yard touchdown from Rohle. After the extra point, Hampden-Sydney led 26-7.

The two teams continued to trade scores, as Boden completed all nine of his pass attempts in an 11 play, 60 yard scoring drive to make it a 26-14 game with 8:01 to play in the half.

The Tigers were able to get into Wasp territory on the next drive, but DeMikael Burse intercepted Lane and netted 44 yards on his return before he was brought down on the Hampden-Sydney 13-yard line. The defense stepped up, however, forcing the Wasps into a 27-yard field goal bringing them within nine at 26-17.

Hampden-Sydney was not daunted with just 1:28 to work in the half. Lane led the Tigers from their 20-yard line to the Emory and Henry 26-yard line. With time expiring, David Prizzia (Jacksonville, FL/Episcopal) connected on a 43-yard field goal to take a 29-17 lead into intermission.

Hampden-Sydney's opening drive of the second half was cut short as Tyler Houk picked off Lane and gave the Wasps the ball at their 47-yard line. Boden led them down the field, and William Pearl put six on the board with a one yard scamper bring Emory and Henry within five at 29-24.

It took Hampden-Sydney just seven plays to respond with a 35-yard field goal from Prizzia.

Minutes later, Emory & Henry recorded its third turnover as Zach Morgan (Virginia Beach, VA/Ocean Lakes) intercepted a Boden pass and returned it 34 yards to the Emory and Henry 21-yard line. 

It took the Tigers one play to score as Lane hit Cavanagh in the end zone. Prizzia's PAT was blocked, so the Tigers held a 38-24 lead with 7:48 to play in the third quarter.

Neither team could find a rhythm for the rest of the quarter, and the score remained at 38-24 heading into the final stanza. Though the Tigers fumbled on three consecutive possessions, the Tiger defense held strong, forcing a turnover-on-downs and picking off another pass via a Price interception.

Trying to capitalize on Hampden-Sydney's third fumble, Emory and Henry lined up for a 38-yard field goal with just under nine minutes to play, but Matt Turchin's attempt sailed wide right.

Hampden-Sydney was forced to punt on its next drive, and the Wasps took over at midfield with 5:52 to play. The Wasps took 12 plays and 4:46, but found the end zone as Boden hit Ross for the 16-yard score. Their two point attempt failed, keeping it an eight point game at 38-30.

Emory & Henry prepared for the on-side kick and recovered on its own 39-yard line with 1:06 remaining. Boden was poised, connecting on four of his five passes for 46 yards before the Wasps called a timeout at third-and-three on the Hampden-Sydney 15-yard line with 16 seconds to play.

Boden's 7-yard pass to Ross made it first-and-goal at the eight-yard line. After an incomplete pass, Boden hit Ross on the last play of the game for the touchdown. Holding on to a 38-36 lead, Hampden-Sydney came up with the stop on the tying two-point conversion attempt to claim the victory.

On the day, Lane was 25-of-42 with 291 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Cavanagh was his top target with 11 receptions for a game-high 159 yards and two scores. Vance and Gorsline combined for six receptions and 105 yards. Rohle had another great day on the ground with 149 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries.

Defensively, the Tigers were led by Price's monster game of 16 tackles, one interception, and 0.5 sacks. Fryman added 12 tackles and August Berling (Richmond, VA/Benedictine) netted 11 stops. Morgan tallied nine tackles, and Bing and Charlie Shoemaker (Charlotte, NC/Myers Park) each had eight stops a piece.

For the Wasps, Boden threw for 390 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions on 51-of-65 accuracy. Preston Jennings caught an ODAC record 21 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. Adrian Jordan netted 96 yards on seven receptions, while Ross scored two touchdowns on his seven receptions for 62 yards. Defensively, the Wasps were led by Ross Ellis and Daniel Preston who each had nine tackles.

Hampden-Sydney will get a week off before returning to action Saturday, October 29 as it travels to Greensboro, North Carolina to face the Quakers of Guilford College. Kick-off is set for 1:00 pm.