Hampden-Sydney Tops ODAC Football Poll

Hampden-Sydney Tops ODAC Football Poll

Tigers Followed Closely by Bridgewater, Emory & Henry

FOREST, Va. --- Hampden-Sydney College secured the top slot in the annual ODAC Football Preseason Poll for the second straight season, earning 44 total points that included three first place votes from the league’s coaches.  Bridgewater College received a pair of top votes on the way to 39 points, and Emory & Henry College picked up 36 tallies and one first place nod.  Randolph-Macon College (29 points) received the remaining first place vote (full poll results below).

The combination of the ODAC’s top scoring offense and least scored-upon defense led Hampden-Sydney through the conference portion of its schedule unscathed, marking the second time H-SC has gone undefeated in ODAC play in the last three years (2007).  The Tigers entered the 2009 NCAA Division III Tournament with strong hopes of moving deep into the competition, but they saw their season come to an abrupt halt in the first round against Johns Hopkins University.

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Hampden Sydney (10-1 overall, 6-0 in ODAC in 2009) opens the new season looking to secure its third ODAC title in the past four seasons (2007, 2009).  Head coach Marty Favret and his high-octane offense will be breaking in new quarterback Travis Lane, but running back Kirk Rohle returns for his second season as the feature back.  He finished first in the league in scoring (17 TDs) and fourth in rushing yards (854) while also proving to be H-SC’s most frequent receiver (49 rec. for 300 yds.).  A host of pass catchers return, including receiver Sean Cavanagh (43 rec. for 683 yds, All-ODAC 1st Team) and tight end Andrew Bruckner (34 rec. for 440 yds, All-ODAC 2nd Team).  On the other side of the ball, the Tigers’ strength begins on the line with the return of Will Riggenbach, the reigning ODAC Defensive Player of the Year and D3football.com Honorable Mention All-American.  Riggenbach led the ODAC in sacks (14.5) and was second in tackles for a loss (18.5), providing the punch for a unit that surrendered league lows in points (17.5) and total yards (314.5) per game.  The secondary welcomes back D3football.com First Team All-American, Bill Doody.  The preseason All-American (D3footbal.com) led the ODAC with nine interceptions in 2009.  The defense also features linebacker Trevor Ikwild (94 tackles, 13.5 TFL’s, All-ODAC 2nd Team), safety Michael Ware (45 tackles, 2 INT’s) and linemen Andrew Bailey (45 tackles) and Ty Condrey (30 tackles, 6.5 TFL’s).

Once characterized as a young squad, head coach Mike Clark’s roster is now stocked with veteran players ready to take the Eagles back up to the top of the league’s ranks.  Bridgewater (7-3, 4-2) took a step forward towards its goal in 2009, led by an exciting offense that scored 29.7 points per game (2nd in ODAC) and included several high-scoring slugfests (three games of 70 combined points, six of more than 50).  Running back Thomas Tate (All-ODAC 1st Team) was one of only two backs to crack the 1,000-yard barrier in 2009, finishing second in the league in yardage (1,167) and yards per game (116.7).  Receiver Tyler Beiler (46 rec. for 843 yards, All-ODAC 2nd Team) proved to be the deep-threat BC needed, using his speed to beat opposing DB’s to the tone of 18.3 yards per catch (best in ODAC) and nine touchdowns.  He posted one of the longest plays in ODAC history with a 98-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown in a win against Shenandoah.  Quarterback Hagan Driskell (1,896 yds, 18 TDs) was the ODAC’s second-rated passer (130.6 rating).  On defense, linebackers Scottie Littles (48 tackles), Brandon Mitchell (38 tackles) and T.J. Montague (48 tackles) all return to man their positions, as well as cornerback Darius Burrus (45 tackles, 2 INT’s, All-ODAC 1st Team).

Defense has been the staple of Wasps teams coached by Don Montgomery, and that again was the case in 2009 (18.1 ppg allowed).  But Emory & Henry (7-3, 3-3) also features the ODAC’s most dynamic offensive player in D3football.com Second Team All-American running back, Caleb Jennings.  The reigning ODAC Offensive Player of the Year and preseason All-American (D3football.com) led the league in rushing (1,371 yards) and all-purpose yardage (1,919).  He was second in scoring with 15 touchdowns.  The defense is led by linebacker Ed Smith (78 tackles, 4.5 sacks, All-ODAC 1st Team).  He’s joined by a pair of returning linemen in Keith Taylor (44 tackles, 3.5 TFL’s) and Derrick Patterson (34 tackles, 3.5 sacks).  The Wasps enter 2010 riding a three-game winning streak, thanks in large part to a defense that allowed less than 10 points per game during its 2009 season-ending run.

Randolph-Macon (6-4, 4-2) found offensive balance in head coach Pedro Arruza’s sixth campaign in Ashland.  The Yellow Jackets’ attack starts with quarterback Austin Faulkner (All-ODAC 2nd Team) and receiver Earl Peoples (All-ODAC 1st Team, D3football.com Honorable Mention All-American).  The duo connected 75 times covering 1,101 yards (of 133 total completions and 1,679 total passing yards), including an ODAC single-game record 20 receptions for 295 yards (yardage is second all-time).  Thaddeus Scruggs (All-ODAC 2nd Team) returns to the backfield after racking up 737 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.  The defense features several key returners including linebacker Jeremy Bowry (51 tackles, All-ODAC 1st Team).

Washington and Lee (4-6, 2-4) and head coach Frank Miriello look for a solid mix of talent to take a step forward in 2010.  The offense will be led by veteran quarterback Charlie Westfal, who combined for 1,603 yards of total offense (1,098 passing, 505 rushing).  Harrison Hudson (368 yds. rushing, 23 rec. for 186 yds.) and Brett Murray (203 yds. rushing) are two top returning weapons from the league’s second-best rushing attack in 2009 (201.4 ypg.).  The defense will look to linebacker Rob Look (72 tackles, 5.5 TFL’s, All-ODAC 2nd Team) and defensive back John Kavanagh (48 tackles, 5.0 TFL’s) to lead the charge.

Both Guilford (4-6, 2-4) and Catholic (1-9, 0-6) made sizable shifts in offensive personality in 2009.  For Kevin Kiesel’s Quakers, the aerial attack of the past several years was replaced by a balanced attack that highlighted the talents of players like Justin Parker (All-ODAC 2nd Team) and tailback Mike Williams.  Parker led the team in receiving (55 rec. for 493 yds.) and was second in rushing (359 yds.).  Williams was the top ground-gainer with 528 yards in his first season in Greensboro.  Kenneth Hyman III (23 tackles, 2 INT’s, All-ODAC 2nd Team) is back on defense and is joined by fellow defensive back Jordan Nelson, who was second in the ODAC with eight interceptions.

Head coach Dave Dunn’s Cardinals phased out their prolific passing game for a run-heavy approach.  Running back Rich Barry returns after churning out 840 yards and nine touchdowns.  Matt Cantafio is the top returning passer (643 yards, 3 TDs), and is joined by 2009 favored receiver, Mike Smith (40 rec. for 373 yds.).  The defense welcomes back Christian Pavik (63 tackles, 3 fumble rcv.) and Dwight Jones (54 tackles).

The 2010 football season begins on Saturday, September 4, with each of the ODAC’s seven football school’s in action.  For more information, visit any of the participating schools’ websites or go to the ODAC’s home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com.  

(#) Denotes first place votes

1. Hampden-Sydney (3) 44 pts.
2. Bridgewater (2) 39 pts.
3. Emory & Henry (1) 36 pts.
4. Randolph-Macon (1) 29 pts.
5. Washington and Lee 22 pts.
6. Guilford 14 pts.
7. Catholic 12 pts.