By Richard Pryor III
In their third inter-conference game of the season, the Sewanee Tigers football team lost to Hendrix College 48-42.
A high scoring outing, Sewanee’s first half included a touchdown run by Warren Holland (C’20), a 66-yard punt return by William Phillips (C’21), and a 13-yard pass to Allan Puri (C’20) from Alex Darras (C’21), giving the Tigers 21 points at the end of the first half. However, Hendrix had completed the half with five touchdowns and 31 points, mainly on the back of their quarterback, Miles Thompson, who was involved in all but one of the touchdowns.
The third quarter, a slightly slower outing, saw just one touchdown as Thompson ran in a touchdown from seven yards out. The tide began to turn against Hendrix in the fourth quarter after an early Hendrix touchdown, as Mikey Plancher (C’18) ran in two consecutive touchdowns, and Darras was able to connect to Micah Maes (C’20) for another touchdown, leaving the score at 42 for Sewanee and 48 for Hendrix.
It was Sewanee’s final drive that stopped the team from a win. Darras capably marshalled the Tigers from their 35 yard line to Hendrix’s 11 yard line, both rushing and passing to get the yards they needed. On a third down with ten yards to go at Hendrix’s 11 yard line, a Darras pass to Steven Hearn (C’18) got the ball into the end zone, tying Sewanee with Hendrix, though the referees called a holding penalty on offensive lineman John Gaither (C’19).
The rule of holding according to the NCAA is that “the hand(s) and arm(s) shall not be used to grasp, pull, hook, clamp, or encircle in any way that illegally impedes or illegally obstructs an opponent.” As the play would have set Sewanee in a position to win on an extra point kicked by Michael Jacobs (C’19), the calling of the penalty was controversial.
Matthew Hembree (C’20) thought the call was “bogus” and that the refs “stole the game” from the Tigers. His opinion seemed to the be general consensus of those who witnessed the play. However, The Sewanee Purple could not find out the opinion of those on the team, as the NCAA rules state that “on- and off-the-record criticism of officials to the public shall be considered unethical” for a coach, and that it is the coach’s duty to ensure that none of his players do the same.
No matter the final score, the Tigers played a game they should be proud of, and they should look to take the momentum and keep it for their next game, where they will play Berry College on Saturday, October 7, at 6:00 p.m. in Sewanee.