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Tigers Fall to #25 Centre in 51-41 Shootout

Sean Cavanagh

DANVILLE, KY-The Hampden-Sydney football team rallied to score 21 points in the second half, but could not quite overcome the 20-0 first quarter deficit to #25 Centre in the first round of the NCAA Division III Football Championship. With the win, Centre, now 9-1 will advance to play Mount Union in the second round. Mount Union advanced courtesy a 47-7 win over Benedictine. With the loss, the Tigers end their season 8-3 overall.

The Tigers cut the Centre lead to seven on four occasions, but just could not take the lead. There was a combined total of 937 yards via 474 from Hampden-Sydney and 463 from Centre. The strong winds affected both teams, but they were still able to combine for 567 passing yards - 406 of which came from senior quarterback Travis Lane (Richmond, VA/Mills Godwin).

Centre opened up the scoring action just under five minutes into the game with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Osterman to Rob Melillo. As the Tigers struggled to find an offensive rhythm heading into a strong wind, the Colonels tacked on another score at the 5:48 mark with Osterman hitting younger brother Jason Osterman for the 33 yard touchdown.

Three minutes later, the Colonels found the end zone again. Monte Scotton scampered eight yards into the end zone. A failed snap, however, prevented the extra point making it a 20-0 lead.

The Tigers gained momentum on their next drive ending in a 21-yard touchdown connection from Lane to Kyle Vance (Onley, VA/Broadwater Academy). With a failed extra point, the Tigers trailed 20-6.

After Hampden-Sydney's defense stopped the Colonels, Lane guided the Tigers on his second straight drive. The Tigers took the ball 53 yards, scoring on a 26-yard reception from Sean Cavanagh (Midlothian, VA/Clover Hill).

Centre extended its 20-13 lead on the ensuing drive, taking just six plays to drive 80 yards. Scotton kick started the drive with a 41-yard run. Five plays later, Greyson Janeway caught a 23-yard touchdown pass.

The Tigers again responded and in similar fashion to their previous drive. After six plays and 31 yards, Lane and Cavanagh connected again in the end zone – this time from 30 yards out – to put the Tigers within seven at 27-20.

With 1:40 to go in the half, the Colonels attempted their last drive of the half, and it did not take long as Scotton burst out for a 62-yard score to take a 34-20 lead at the half.

Centre continued its roll into the second half as Jonathan Pinque rushed three times for 47 yards to put the Colonels on the three-yard line. Freshman Shreve Rohle (Mechanicsville, VA/Hanover) then stopped Pinque in the back field, but Osterman hit John Coomer for his fourth touchdown pass of the game and a 41-20 lead.  

The Tigers methodically marched down the field, taking nearly four minutes to respond. Cavanagh and Vance combined for 31 yards to start the drive. Kirk Rohle (Mechanicsville, VA/Hanover) used his ground attack to pus h the ball forward, and eventually into the end zone on a one yard rush.

Hampden-Sydney then stopped the Colonels on a three-and-out, allowing the offense to take over at its own 41-yard line. The Tigers were quickly into Centre territory after a 17-yard reception by Vance and ten yard rush from Rohle. Mike Goad (Chesterfield, VA/Matoaca) then put the Tigers closer with a 13-yard reception. Rohle later scored his second touchdown of the day, from one-yard out, again making it a one possession game at 41-34 with 2:49 to play in the third.

The Tiger defense then continued to roll. On third-and-long, August Berling (Richmond, VA/Benedictine) sacked Osterman to force a punt, giving the ball right back to the Tigers. The Colonels returned the favor, however, forcing a three-and-out of their own before ending the quarter.

After a Colonel punt, the Tigers were in a fourth-and-five situation. A quick kick attempt went right into the wind and was recovered by Centre behind the line of scrimmage and returned to the Hampden-Sydney 32-yard line. The Osterman brothers then connected on the first play of the drive for the 32-yard score.

The Tigers marched down on their next drive, but came to a near halt at fourth-and-seven on the Centre 19-yard line. Lane hit Cavanagh who pitched to Rohle to just enough to move the chains. Plays later on fourth-and-six, Lane hit Vance for the eight yard touchdown, making it a 48-41 game with 7:15 to play in the game.

The Colonels used over five minutes to reach the Tigers' 19-yard line before being halted at fourth-and-two. Jordan Gay nailed a crucial 36-yard field goal to put his team up 51-41 with just 1:19 remaining.  Hampden-Sydney attempted a scoring drive, but Lane was picked off by Thomas Kent to end the game.

On the day, Lane was 32-of-60 for 404 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Vance caught a game-high 10 passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns, while Cavanagh led the way with 158 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions. Rohle caught eight passes for 38 yards, and Eric Gorsline (Virginia Beach, VA/Norfolk Academy) caught three passes for 51 yards. Goad also hauled in three passes for 47 yards.

On the ground, Rohle scored two touchdowns to go with 55 yards on 21 carries. Rohle was able to reach the 1,000 yard mark, ending the season with 1,023 yards. He becomes the third back under head coach Marty Favret to rush for 1,000 yards.

Defensively, Zach Morgan (Virginia Beach, VA/Ocean Lakes) led the team with eight tackles. Mo Gross (Chesterfield, VA/Clover Hill), August Berling (Richmond, VA/Benedictine) and Kenny Fryman (Mechanicsville, VA/Hanover) each tallied seven stops.

For the Colonels, Osterman threw five touchdowns and 161 yards on 13-of-21 accuracy. Jason Osterman was his top target with four receptions for 79 yards and two scores. On the ground, Scotton and Pinque combined for 242 yards on 31 carries while Scotton scored two touchdowns.

Defensively, three Colonels tallied seven tackles. As a unit, they forced two turnovers - both interceptions.

Today's game marked the fourth time in five years the Tigers have made a postseason appearance. They also captured the school's seventh ODAC Championship and third in five years.