Last Updated: Jan 8th, 2015 - 07:42:25

Locals Star in D-3 Game
By David Breidenbach, Correspondent
Nov 20, 2013, 08:50

David Breidenbach/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
ASHLAND—Local high school football players are learning more about two quality Division 3 college football teams, providing them with a chance to continue to play after graduation. Hampden-Sydney College, in Farmville, and Randolph-Macon College, in Ashland, are two perennial D3 powers in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) which met Saturday for the 119th time.

A winner take all matchup, Hampden-Sydney’s defense twice stopped the Yellow Jackets from making a two-point conversion which would have tied the game at 28. The stop allowed the Tigers to escape the confines of Day Field with the 28-26 win, the ODAC Championship, and an automatic bid to the D3 NCAA playoffs where they will host Maryville Saturday at noon. They also get to bring The Game trophy back to Farmville for the first time in the past two years.

“You could argue that it might be the best HSC-Macon game ever with all the twists and turns, and when it comes down to 18 inches at the goal line. The game in ‘09 was similar, but this was a great game with a great atmosphere and the two best teams really slugging it out,” Tigers Coach Marty Favret said.

The teams have had classic match ups over the past several years, several of which determined who would be the ODAC champion. Randolph-Macon, under Coach Pedro Arruza, plays a hard-nosed power running game.

Hampden-Sydney, under Favret, plays a wide-open pass oriented spread offense. Which is better often comes down to which team’s defense plays better on that given day.

The goal line stance to stop the two point conversion is the latest heroics in contests that typically have a number of heroes. The Tigers stopped the initial attempt, but were called for a face mask penalty on the tackle. That gave the Yellow Jackets a seemingly easy yard and a half for the tie. But the Tigers, who lost the championship match to Washington & Lee last year on a two-point conversion, weren’t having any of it this year. They managed to get the stop a yard short of the goal line on a sweep to the right side.

“Our defense came through particularly in the second half, short fields, holding to field goal attempts; it’s a really cool game especially for our defense. They have been embarrassed the last two years against Macon. I’m glad they stepped up that’s going to parlay well into the playoffs,” Favret said.

The more interesting things perhaps for people south of the River is the focus the two teams have had on recruiting in the area. Hampden-Sydney has dipped into the Tri-City area for five players, three from Thomas Dale and two from Matoaca. In the past, the Tigers have looked at teams north of the River, like Mills Godwin, Hanover, and Atlee. Mike Goad, a senior out of Matoaca, transferred to HSC from the University of Richmond in his sophomore year.
David Breidenbach/Hopewell News/News-Patriot

The other Matoaca graduate playing there is Keshawn Gilliam; three former Thomas Dale players are also on the team: Jamal Woolridge, a freshman safety; Shaq Thomas, a sophomore defensive lineman; and Dalton Lee, a sophomore offensive lineman.

Randolph-Macon also has noticed the high quality players available in the area. They have two former Thomas Dale players on their squad: Tim Thoner, a freshman linebacker, and Mike Moss, a freshman offensive lineman.

“Kevin Tucker (Thomas Dale head football coach) played for me and it’s a natural place for us to recruit. Mike came in from Richmond, you get a couple guys in and it could end up being cyclical. We dried up at Godwin so now we’re moving down to the other side of the river,” Favret said.

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