Panthers hold off Hendrix in home opener, 35-32
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Birmingham-Southern held off a fourth-quarter rally by the Hendrix Warriors to win its home opener, 35-32, Saturday on Battle Field at Panther Stadium.
The Panthers move to 2-0, while Hendrix falls to 1-1. It was the first meeting between the programs, as Hendrix is in its first season since restarting football after a 52-year hiatus.
BSC scored the first two touchdowns of the game, the first a 34-yard pass from senior Tyson Beacham to junior Michael Cowan and the second a seven-yard run by junior Marquis Pratt. Senior kicker Ryan Laughlin hit both extra points, after missing a 38-yard field goal attempt on BSC's first drive, giving the Panthers a 14-0 lead with 10 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Warriors got on the board at the 12:09 mark of the second quarter when Steve Crenshaw made a 43-yard field goal, but the Panthers answered a little over three minutes later when senior Joe Moultrie rushed seven yards to the end zone. Laughlin's extra point was good to put BSC up 21-3, and they took the lead into the halftime break.
Hendrix came out strong in the third quarter, scoring three straight touchdowns to pull ahead 24-21 for the only lead of the game. Two of the scores were on passes from Seth Peters to Casey Caton, and the third was a pass from Peters to Travus McMahon.
The Warrior lead was short-lived, with the pull-ahead touchdown coming at the 13:11 mark of the fourth quarter and BSC scoring at the 11:05 mark when senior Tyler Johnson caught an 11-yard pass from Beacham. Laughlin connected on the extra point, and then he did so again three minutes later after a 12-yard run by junior Issac Nichols, putting the Panthers up 35-24 with 8:05 left to play.
Hendrix would score the final touchdown of the game on a 12-yard pass from Peters to McMahon, and Caleb Brake caught the two-point conversion pass, cutting the BSC lead to 35-32, but the Warriors wouldn't get another chance, with the Panthers hanging on to the ball until time expired.
Beacham was 22-28 with 263 yards and two touchdowns, while Moultrie led on the ground with 113 yards on 18 carries, and Cowan led with 114 yards on six catches. Moultrie also led with 172 all-purpose yards.
For Hendrix, Peters was 37-46 for 345 yards and four touchdowns, and Caton had 151 yards and two touchdowns on 13 catches. Dayton Winn led with 51 yards rushing on 15 carries.
On defense, junior Devante Smith led BSC with 10 tackles, nine of those solo, and junior Wesley Hansard was impressive with five tackles-for-losses of 29 yards, including three sacks for losses of 22 yards as well as a quarterback hurry. Junior Connor Shannon also had two sacks for losses of 14 yards, and senior Cameron Budzius and junior Paden Gaines also had sacks.
Caleb Shannon led the Hendrix defense with 11 tackles, eight solo.
The Panthers are on the road next week, traveling to Deland, Fla., to face first-year NCAA Division I non-scholarship Stetson University at 7 p.m. Eastern. BSC then returns home on Sept. 28 to take on No. 5 Wesley College at 1 p.m.