Randolph-Macon rolls over Hornets, 42-7

Posted: November 4, 2013

Special to The Winchester Star

ASHLAND — Shenandoah seemed to have little trouble moving the ball Saturday at Randolph-Macon University’s Day Field. Unfortunately for the Hornets, they seemed to have a lot of trouble moving the ball inside the red zone.

Shenandoah, despite four chances inside the Yellow Jackets’ 20-yard line, managed only one touchdown late in the fourth quarter in a 42-7 Old Dominion Athletic Conference loss to Randolph-Macon.

The Hornets (3-5, 2-3 ODAC) reached the Yellow Jackets’ 17-, 18- and 12-yard lines before finally scoring on their next-to-last drive with 1:55 remaining in the game.

“I think we got bogged down on a couple of drives early on — maybe a penalty or we didn’t make a play and they did,” said Shenandoah head coach Scott Yoder. “Then we’re chasing [them] from behind. They were able to squeeze the life out of the football game. They’re a good football program, and we’re going to struggle playing behind like that late in the game.”

Shenandoah quarterbacks Justin Neff and Drew Ferguson combined for 218 yards in passing offense. Neff completed 15 of 17 attempts for 144 yards and a touchdown. Ferguson was 10 of 18 for 74 yards.

Both quarterbacks were sacked twice — for a total of 20 yards in losses — levying a significant debit from the Hornets’ rushing total. Shenandoah finished with 22 carries for a net gain of 38 yards.

“We were driving the ball well this game,” Ferguson said. “But in the red zone we just couldn’t execute and finish plays.”

Shenandoah did a good job of taking advantage of the Yellow Jackets’ soft pass defense. Randolph-Macon defensive tackle Calvin Davis — who recovered a Shenandoah fumble that ended one of the Hornets’ inside-the-red-zone appearances — said the Yellow Jackets did not always help their own cause, but they found a way to get big plays when they needed them most.

“We were just hurting ourselves most of [the time] because we weren’t doing our assignments,” Davis said. “It was just the little things that we had to fix. Once they came down, we just had to buckle up. Coach [Pedro Arruza] talks about facing adversity. We just had to get a stop and we got one.”

Randolph-Macon’s offense got big plays when it needed it. Led by quarterback Zac Naccarato, who completed 13-of-14 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns, the Yellow Jackets (6-2, 4-1) successfully completed 10 of 14 third-down conversion attempts and both of their fourth-down conversion attempts.

Randolph-Macon took a bit less than six minutes to get on the scoreboard, driving 56 yards in 10 plays on an opening drive capped by Naccarato’s 10-yard pass Greg Petrohovich with 9:20 left in the first quarter. Seth Yurgel’s kick made it 7-0.

On their next drive, the Yellow Jackets drove 83 yards in 11 plays and scored on Will McGhee’s 6-yard run. Yurgel’s point-after extended Randolph-Macon’s lead to 14-0. The Yellow Jackets could not reach the end zone the remainder of the half.

In the second half, however, Randolph-Macon seemed unstoppable.

After forcing a Shenandoah punt on the opening drive of the half, the Yellow Jackets drove 67 yards for a score on John Byrd’s 1-yard run. After another Shenandoah drive ended in a punt, Randolph-Macon put together an 81-yard drive that ended with Naccarato’s 14-yard pass to Matt Williamson with 14:53 remaining in the game.

Shenandoah’s next drive ended in the fumble recovered by Davis, and Randolph-Macon made the Hornets pay for the turnover with a 77-yard drive. Byrd finished it with another 1-yard scoring run.

With 4:35 remaining in the game, Shenandoah began its only scoring drive on its 32-yard line. The Hornets took eight plays to finally reach the end zone on Neff’s 5-yard pass to Brandon Adams. Tim Frye’s kick made it 35-7.

But Randolph-Macon was not done, taking just one play — a 58-yard pass from Petrohovich to Jake Connolly, for its final touchdown.