The Randolph-Macon Football team showed up with great determination to win on Saturday, as the heated rivalry between Randolph-Macon and Hampden-Sydney drew in thousands of people to the small town of Ashland.
Randolph-Macon’s season has not been the best compared to years past, but riding a 2 game winning streak, the team was looking to extend that to a 3 game winning streak to ride them into next season. Even while riding that winning streak, however, they did not enter Saturday as the favorites, even with a home field advantage.
Nonetheless, that did not faze Team 128.
The Yellow Jackets came out firing and went up 14-0 after freshman J.J. Hill picked off the Tigers’ quarterback Edgar Moore and ran it back for a 31 yard touchdown. That play then set the tone for the Yellow Jackets’ defense.
The defense had their best game of the season, holding the Tigers to only 9 points, their fewest point total since their season opener. They also caused 4 turnovers, 2 of those coming from Hill. In addition, they caused a crucial fumble on the Jackets’ 1 yard line and then recovered.
Arguably the best play of the game came from Senior Tom Buchanan, who on 4th and goal from the 2 yard line, tackled the ODAC’s leading rusher, Hampden-Sydney’s Kyree Koonce, for a 6 yard loss, which gave the ball back to the Jackets and prevented the Tigers from taking a lead. The Tigers would not get past half field for the remainder of the game and the Yellow Jackets took home the victory, sending their senior class out on the biggest high that they could have produced this season.
The Yellow Jackets have now beaten the Tigers for 2 consecutive years and 4 out of the past 5 meetings. The graduating senior class has beaten Hampden-Sydney 3 times over their 4 year career. When asked what beating Randolph-Macon’s rivals meant to senior Brian Jorgensen, he told The Yellow Jacket how much it meant to both him and his team.
“It isn’t just a rivalry because it has been around for so long, but more so for the fact that we are such different programs,” Jorgensen said. “In our minds, it’s our program’s way of life versus theirs, which makes beating them all the more sweet.”
Jorgensen also said that this win will definitely be the most memorable moment from his experience playing in the R-MC vs. H-SC rivalry.
“Our defense put forth a special effort. For them to play lights out like that at home was really special,” Jorgensen continued. “Holding up The Game Ball with my brothers from team 128 is, and forever will be, one of the highlights of my life.”
As for the rest of the campus and the team who are not graduating, all eyes are turning to next season. This season was extremely harsh on the Yellow Jackets injury wise, and they will be looking for a strong core of players to return and compete next season. Jorgensen is not worried about the team after he has graduated, not only attributing this confidence to great recruiting, but also to the great judge of character that belongs to Coach Aruza and his staff.
“We’re fighters,” Jorgenson said.
After the Yellow Jackets’ hard work and determination to beat the Tigers, the entire campus can now smile while passing by the Campus Store, the real home of The Game Ball.
-Blake Saathoff ’17, Junior Sports Editor