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First-teamers square off
|Heath Haden, top, and Seth Peters.
Centre athletics photo; d3photography.com file photo by Joe Fusco
DANVILLE, Ky. -- It’s fun to see a first-team all-conference quarterback command a high-powered offense on the field. It’s even more fun to watch two of them in the same game.
That was the case Saturday, when Hendrix traveled to Kentucky to play defending conference champion Centre. The Warriors’ Seth Peters is the SAA’s reigning offensive player of the year, while the Colonels’ fifth-year senior, Heath Haden, was the first-team All-SAA quarterback in 2013.
There was no letdown. Despite the threat of rain all week and a potential for game day downpours, the worst of the weather held off.
The result was a 51-48 shootout that seemed from the first quarter it was going to come down to whoever had the ball last. The teams combined for 34 points in the first 15 minutes alone, and there seemed to be no stopping things.
“I definitely expected a shootout from two really good offenses,” said Peters, a junior. “Centre and Hendrix have been at the top of the conference the past three years now. I expected us to have to go out there and win a shootout, and that’s what happened.”
Hendrix is in just its third season since restarting its football program, and from the outset, Centre and Hendrix have had to conference’s two most potent offenses. This season, Hendrix is 18th in the nation statistically; Centre is 28th.
“Our offense played well, but in a game like this when the other offense is also playing well, you don’t have a lot of room for mistakes,” said Haden, who earned a medical redshirt during his freshman season. “One three-and-out, in most games you can get away with that, and it’s not a big deal. But in a game like this, if you have a missed throw here, or a missed block or a drop, those things can come back to bite you.”
Most first-team all-conference quarterbacks are juniors or seniors; last season, of the 29 conferences across the country, only three gave that honor to a sophomore. So Peters was unique.
He’s excelling this season, too. Factoring in Saturday’s 262-yard passing effort, Peters averages 253 yards a game. That’s good enough for Top 50 nationally. The Warriors are off to a 3-1 start.
Centre, on the other hand, is now 3-2, a potentially significant slip off of last season. Haden helped lead his team to an undefeated regular season in 2014 before being knocked out of the playoffs in Round 1 by John Carroll.
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Ryan is D3football.com's Senior Editor and began as National Columnist in fall 2014. He was the Around the Mid-Atlantic Columnist from 2007 to 2011, has worked on the preseason Kickoff publication since 2006 and has covered the Stagg Bowl in Salem for more than a decade. Ryan, a Wabash graduate, worked in newspapers as a writer and editor for 15 years before his current full-time job as editor of a magazine in Virginia.2001-2013 columnist: Keith McMillan.
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