Photo courtesy of Buck Butler
By Harry Davis
On Saturday, September 2, the Sewanee Tigers defeated the Kenyon Lords at home by a score of 45-20 to start off the season, their first victory since a 2015 match-up against the Lords.
In the off-season, Sewanee hired new head coach Travis Rundle. Rundle is known for his spectacular defensive mind—he led Illinois Wesleyan’s defense for six years as they ranked first nationally in total defense and four-down defense last year.
Both defenses played well early on, with the longest drive for either team set at 25 yards before Kenyon began storming down the field as the first quarter was ending, leading to a touchdown with 27 seconds left in the quarter.
Sewanee regrouped in the second quarter as they scored 17 unanswered points. After the Tigers went for it on fourth down, the Lords were pushing down the field to the Tigers four-yard line. With Kenyon trying to rush the ball into the end zone, Wesley Porter (C’21) forced the fumble and William Phillips (C’21) recovered the fumble for a 98-yard touchdown to start the run for the Tigers.
This play gave the Tigers the rally they needed, as Kenyon’s next drive was a three and out for nine yards. The Sewanee offense then came out for a six play, 49-yard drive finished by a 34-yard touchdown pass by Alex Darras (C’21) to Calid Shorter (C’21). Both teams matched touchdowns within the last minute of play in the half to bring the halftime score to 24-14.
The third quarter was a defensive quarter. Each team either struggled to move the ball, or in the case of the Lords, turned the ball over on an interception after a 65-yard drive by Wesley Porter (C’21). Kenyon’s defense started to open up in the fourth quarter as the Tigers got the ball from a Kenyon interception, leading to a 42-yard reception by Micah Maes (C’20).
Sewanee’s Mikey Plancher (C’18) pushed in a four-yard rush for a touchdown to bring the lead to 31-14. Sewanee then scored two more touchdowns before Kenyon scored one more time with 24 seconds left to bring the final to 45-20 Sewanee.
Sewanee began the season the right way, showing off an offense with the ability to make big plays as well as staying balanced with both passing and rushing shining during the game. Although Kenyon’s offense was effective, the Tigers’ defense embodied the spirit of “bend but not break,” forcing six turnovers, many at key moments in the game to end potential scoring drives. With a new coach and strong set of new players for the team, the Tigers start off 1-0 and hope to continue this impressive first outing.
The Tigers start off a three-game span of away games, beginning at Washington and Lee on Saturday, September 9th.