BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Hendrix College football team’s fourth quarter comeback fell just short as the Warriors lost their first ever Southern Athletic Association game 35-32 to Birmingham-Southern College on Battle Field at Panther Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The host Panthers (2-0, 1-0 SAA), the defending SAA champions, scored the first two touchdowns in the first quarter - a 34-yard pass from Tyson Beacham to Michael Cowan, and a seven-yard scramble by Marquis Pratt - to go up 7-0. Last week’s hero for the Warriors (1-1, 0-1 SAA), freshman kicker Steve Crenshaw, booted a 43-yard field goal to put Hendrix on the board at the 12:09 mark of the second quarter.
BSC answered on the next drive capped by a Joe Moultrie seven-yard rush for a score to go up 21-3. Hendrix cut the lead to two scores with a 14-yard TD reception by junior Casey Caton from freshman Seth Peters.
Peters found Caton again on a 10-yard route with 10:39 left in the third quarter - the only scoring for either team in the period - to make cut the Panther advantage to 21-17.
The Warriors took a 24-21 lead with 13:11 left in the game when Peters completed a 20-yard pass to freshman receiver Travus McMahon. Nearly two minutes later, the Panthers scored on an 11-yard pass to Tyler Johnson to regain a 28-24 lead. After a three-and-out for Hendrix, BSC needed just five plays to drive 65 yards, capped by a 12-yard Isaac Nichols run to go up 35-24 with 8:05 left on the clock.
Still down by 11 points with 2:14 remaining, Peters completed five straight passes, including a 12-yard touchdown to McMahon with 1:13 left on the clock. Peters found freshman Caleb Brake on for a two-point conversion to cut the deficit to three.
The Warriors tried to on-side kick, but the Panthers recovered to hold off the comeback effort.
BSC ran 66 plays for 403 yards, while Hendrix had 76 plays for 379 yards. The Warriors held a slight 27-24 edge in first downs.
Peters went 37-of-46 for 345 yards and four touchdowns, but was sacked six times. Caton recorded 13 catches for 151 yards and two scores and McMahon brought in eight receptions for 56 yards and two TDs. Freshman tailback Dayton Winn had 120 all-purpose yards, rushing 15 times for 51 yards and catching six passes for 69.
Beacham was 22-of-28 for 263 yards and two scores for the Panthers. Moultire rushed 18 times for 113 yards and Cowan had six catches for 114 yards.
Redshirt freshman Caleb Shannon led the Warrior defense with 11 tackles and freshman corner Matt Ramirez had eight solos. Freshman linebacker Ben Cunningham had eight tackles, including 2.5 for a loss and freshman defensive tackle Taylor Osment recorded a sack.
Devante Smith led BSC with 10 tackles and Welsey Hansard had eight tackles, 2.5 sacks and four tackles for a loss.
Both teams recorded 11 tackles for loss.
Hendrix will enjoy a bye week before returning to action Sept. 28 when they host Southwestern University at Young-Wise Stadium.