16 Conference Titles | Two NCAA Playoff Appearances | 27 All-Americans | Four Academic All-Americans | One Rhodes Scholar | 1921 National Champions
@CentreFootball Suffers First Loss of Season at Hendrix 35-28
CONWAY, Ark. (CentreColonels.com) – The Centre football team saw its nine-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of defending Southern Athletic Association (SAA) champion Hendrix by a score of 35-28 on Saturday afternoon at Young-Wise Memorial Stadium.
The Colonels drop their first game of the 2016 campaign, moving to 4-1 overall and 2-1 in SAA action while the Warriors improve to 4-0 and 2-0, respectively.
A battle of the two top offenses in the SAA, Hendrix jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, before junior quarterback Devin Hayes (Bowling Green, Ky.) connected with junior wide receiver Colin Bradley (Roswell, Ga.) on a 19-yard touchdown pass on Centre's second drive of the afternoon, cutting the deficit to 14-7.
The Warriors answered on their next march when quarterback Seth Peters found Nate Hodapp from five yards out to cap an 11-play, 89-yard drive to give Hendrix a two-score lead at 21-7 to end the first quarter.
The Warriors possessed the ball for over ten minutes in the opening stanza.
In the second quarter, Hayes and the Colonels chipped away at the Hendrix lead when the quarterback hit sophomore wide receiver Cody Estep (Pikeville, Ky.) on a 27-yard scoring strike. Senior wide receiver Duncan Mercer's (South Charleston, Ohio) 27-yard reception on the second play of Centre's drive set up the touchdown for the Colonels.
The two teams would trade scores on their next two possessions, as Peters responded for Hendrix with a 54-yard touchdown run before Hayes linked up with Mercer on a 14-yard heave into the end zone. The Colonels' two-point conversion attempt was good after the score, bringing Centre within seven points at 28-21 at the half.
The Colonels took this momentum into the second half, as Centre would find the end zone on its first series of the half when Hayes hooked up with senior running back Nolan Coulter (Knoxville, Tenn.) on a 14-yard touchdown pass to knot the contest at 28-28. The Colonels marched 69 yards on 13 plays using over four minutes of the game clock leading to the score.
After the Centre defense forced a three-and-out on the next Warrior drive, the Colonels moved into Hendrix territory with completions of 22 and 11 yards to Estep and Mercer, respectively.
However, a Hayes interception by Kody Smith followed by a 68-yard run by Peters on first down set up a Winn one-yard touchdown run, putting the Warriors back on top 35-28 with 6:32 to play.
Centre was unable to match this touchdown in its final three drives, as Hendrix held on for its sixth straight conference victory.
Hayes finished 23-of-43 for 336 yards with four touchdown passes and an interception. The junior was also the Colonels' leading rusher, tallying 35 yards on 11 attempts.
Estep paced the Centre receiver core with 95 yards on five catches with a touchdown. Mercer made six receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown, while Bradley added a team-high seven catches for 74 yards and a score.
Junior linebacker Andrew Busby (Chattanooga, Tenn.) led the Colonels with nine tackles, followed by senior defensive end Trey Yeager (Danville, Ky.) and senior defensive back Conor Linneen (Roswell, Ga.) with eight stops apiece. Yeager added a sack for Centre, as well.
Freshman defensive back Cal Lewellyn (Louisville, Ky.) recorded seven tackles and his third interception of the season, while senior defensive end Ben Bostick (Liberty Township, Ohio) contributed seven stops and a sack.
Peters was 24-of-37 for 308 yards with a pair of touchdown passes and a pick, adding 178 rushing yards on 19 attempts for Hendrix. Winn carried the ball 17 times for 89 yards and two scores.
Hodapp posted game-highs of 10 catches and 142 yards receiving for the Warriors.
Gray Stanton paced the Hendrix defense with eight tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss.
The Warriors held a 575-419 advantage in total yards, as the Colonels tallied 336 yards passing and 83 yards on the ground.
Centre came into the game with the fourth-longest winning streak in Division III. The Colonels' last loss came to the Warriors in week five of last season, 51-48 at Farris Stadium.
Centre returns home to take on Millsaps next Saturday, Oct. 8 in Danville. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. at Farris Stadium.