Tigers claim seventh ODAC championship in 2011

 

VanceDespite not being picked to win in the ODAC Pre-season Poll for the first time since 2007, Hampden-Sydney stood atop the polls at the end of the regular season with an 8-2 overall record, 5-1 ODAC mark, and the school’s seventh ODAC Championship—the third in five years. The Tigers also received a bid to the NCAA Division III Football Championship for the third consecutive season.

After coaching the Tigers through an exciting season and to a third title, Head Coach Marty Favret was named the ODAC Coach of the Year. Favret was joined by 12 Tigers who earned All-ODAC recognition. Earning First-Team honors were senior receivers Kyle Vance (pictured at right) and Sean Cavanagh, senior center Ben Rogers, sophomore left tackle Will Ferrell, junior linebacker Kenny Fryman, and sophomore defensive backs Sean Stewart and Zach Morgan. Taking home Second Team nods were senior quarterback Travis Lane, senior running back Kirk Rohle and senior defensive end Mark Poydence.

The Tigers again had a potent offense as their 340.55 passing yards ranked second nationally while their 474.45 yards of total offense and 41.91 points-per-game were seventh. Carrying the passing load was senior quarterback Travis Lane. Lane recorded the second most passing yards in the country while leading the ODAC in nearly every statistical category. The Richmond native also threw for 32 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions.

Doing most of the receiving for Lane, was senior wide out Kyle Vance. Vance had one of the best seasons for a Hampden-Sydney receiver, breaking two records and placing in the top five of every other category for Tiger receivers. The senior ranked fourth in the nation in receptions-per-game (9.36, 103 overall) and fifth in yards-per-game (126.45, 1,391 overall). His 16 touchdown receptions are the most in school history in a single season.

On the ground, senior running back Kirk Rohle became just the third running back under Favret to rush for 1,000 yards. On the year, Rohle rushed for 1,023 yards and 18 touchdowns. Along with his three receiving touchdowns, his 11.45 points-per-game were eighth in the country.

The offensive onslaught started week one with a 63-9 win over Averett University and continued with wins over North Carolina Wesleyan (56-17) and Ferrum (38-14). In the North Carolina Wesleyan game, Lane was nearly flawless, going 28-of-32 for 389 yards and a record-tying seven touchdowns. After a 3-0 start, however, the Tigers hit a roadblock in Huntingdon College, falling 34-27.

Hampden-Sydney responded from the loss with three consecutive ODAC wins (Catholic—31-17, Bridgewater—28-14, Emory & Henry—38-36) heading into its bye week. The Tigers remained on the road and took a 63-49 win over Guilford after a week off.

With a 4-0 record in conference play, the table was set for an ODAC Championship rematch against defending champs Washington & Lee. The Tigers played the perfect half to start the game, taking a 21-0 lead into intermission. The Generals rallied in the second half, but Hampden-Sydney prevailed Champions on Fulton Field with a 42-35 win.

Though the Tigers fell to Randolph-Macon in the regular season finale, they still had a week left advancing to the Playoffs. The Tigers hit the road in the post season for the first time since 2007, and were not able to overcome Centre’s early 20-0 lead falling 51-41.

The Tigers graduate 16 seniors who posted a career record of 35-5.