BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Huntingdon College defeated Birmingham-Southern, 59-28, Saturday to win the first Wesley Cup Game at Panther Stadium. The Hawks move to 8-1 on the season with their sixth straight win, while the Panthers drop to 4-5.
A field goal put the Hawks on the board at the 10:54 mark of the first quarter, and Huntingdon got the ball back quickly and scored the first touchdown of the game at the 9:32 mark on a 71-yard pass from Justin Ridgeway to Steven Laye. Cody Stepko’s extra point was good, putting the Hawks up 10-0.
Huntingdon extended its lead to 17-0 at the 11:26 mark of the second quarter on a four-yard dash by Alex Baronich and another good extra point by Stepko.
BSC was able to score on the next drive on a 13-yard run by junior tailback Walter Arrington. Freshman Cody Hutchings’ kick was on the mark to cut the Hawks’ lead to 17-7 with 9:15 left in the second quarter.
The Hawks found the end zone again with four minutes left in the quarter on a five-yard run by Trevor Manuel, and Stepko’s kick was good once again to put Huntingdon up 24-7. Then with 1:32 left in the half, HC scored again on a 41-yard pass from Ridgeway to Walker Gantt. Stepko made his fourth extra point of the half, putting the Hawks up 31-7 heading into halftime.
At the 11:25 mark of the third quarter, Huntingdon increased its lead to 38-7 on a six-yard run by Ridgeway and a good extra point. BSC answered at the 10:11 mark when freshman halfback Shawn Morris ran 52 yards to the Hawks’ end zone, and Hutchings made the extra point, cutting the lead to 38-14. Huntingdon scored again quickly, however, as Manuel returned the BSC kickoff 79 yards to put the Hawks up 45-14 with 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
The Panthers scored on their next two possessions, the first touchdown coming on a two-yard run by Arrington, and the second on a two-yard run by junior wide receiver Chris Mauck. Both of Hutchings’ kicks were good to cut the Hawks’ lead to 45-28 with 14:55 left to play in the game.
The Hawks scored again at the 12:43 mark of the fourth quarter on a two-yard run by Baronich, and Stepko made the extra point, putting Huntingdon up 52-28. At the 4:25 mark, the Hawks scored again on a six-yard rush by Parker Roberts to go up 59-28 for the final score of the game.
Ridgeway was 16-of-25 with two touchdown passes and 332 passing yards, and Baronich led with 129 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Willie McDowell led with 86 receiving yards on four catches, and Manuel led with 198 all-purpose yards.
Keith Anthony led on defense with 12 total tackles (4 solo, 8 assisted), while Mike Payson led with two tackles for loss and Shani Smith had two pass breakups.
BSC junior quarterback Joe Thigpen was 8-of-19 with 117 passing yards and 87 rushing yards on 17 carries. Arrington led with 116 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries, followed closely by Morris with 113 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries. Sophomore wide receiver Eric Nordgren led with 42 yards on one catch.
Freshman defensive back Cole Rudder led with nine tackles (4 solo, 5 assisted), and junior Jeremy Jones picked up two fumble recoveries. Junior Mike Stonewall also had two quarterback hurries.
Huntingdon recorded 30 first downs to BSC’s 21, and led in rushing yards (361 to 345) and passing yards (332 to 117).
The Panthers wrap up the 2009 season next Saturday, Nov. 14, traveling to Jackson, Miss., to face league-leader Millsaps College at 1 p.m.
Today’s game was also part of Homecoming and Reunion Weekend 2009. At halftime of the game, senior Julie Johnson was crowned Homecoming Queen, and senior Buddy Permenter was crowned Homecoming King.