GREENSBORO, N.C. – Nate Hill returned a punt a school-record 96 yards and added an interception in visiting Shenandoah University’s 26-7 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) football win at Guilford College Saturday.
The Hornets (2-1, 1-1 ODAC) recorded four sacks, forced three Guilford (1-3, 0-2 ODAC) turnovers and kept the Quakers’ offense out of the red zone all afternoon. Guilford converted just six of 19 third-down chances in their second straight league setback.
Shenandoah scored 75 seconds into the game on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Ben Agostino to Miles Moore, which capped a brisk four-play, 75-yard drive. Agostino completed four passes in as many attempts to four different receivers in the opening possession.
Guilford’s Jeremiah Hedrick thwarted a Shenandoah scoring chance late in the first quarter with an interception on the Quakers’ five, but Guilford’s ensuing drive stalled near midfield, resulting in one of the team’s seven punts in the game.
The Hornets doubled their lead on the ensuing possession as Agostino guided Shenandoah on an 11-play, 83-yard drive aided by a fake punt. Brant Butler ran for 32 yards from punt formation on a fourth-and-10 play to keep the drive alive. Rashadeen Byrd scored on a 13-yard run to cap the drive and open a 14-0 Shenandoah edge that remained until halftime.
Guilford received the second-half kickoff, but its possession lasted just one play as Shenandoah’s Randy Oliver stripped the Quakers’ Shanaan McKoy at the Guilford 42 and recovered the fumble. Three Agostino completions later, Mario Wisdom carried the ball 13 yards into the end zone. The point-after kick failed, but Shenandoah held a 20-0 margin early in the third quarter.
Hill fielded a punt on his own four yard-line later in the third and took it up the near sideline 96 yards. Guilford’s Darnell Jones blocked the point after. Hill finished with 114 punt return yards on two attempts, the eighth-highest single-game total in ODAC history.
Guilford got on the board on the ensuing possession on Alex Manley’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Tre Alexander. Jermaine Russell’s 41-yard kickoff return gave the Quakers their best field position of the day. Harrison Kiser’s PAT made it a 26-7 game.
Shenandoah backup quarterback Ben Rhodenizer played most of the second half and had the Hornets knocking on the Quakers’ door again in the fourth quarter, Quakers’ rookie Josh Hayward thwarted the drive with an interception in the end zone.
Agostino completed 16-of-24 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown. Rhodenizer was seven-for-13 passing for 52 yards. Casey Stewart was the favorite target with nine catches for 88 yards. Byrd ran for a game-best 84 yards and a score on 14 carries. Wisdom finished with 77 rushing yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. While Hill (4 tackles) starred in the second half, tackle Mason Caldwell made nine stops and had two of Shenandoah’s sacks.
Guilford’s Manley completed 25-of-50 passes for 263 yards with an interception and one touchdown. Alexander made a team-best seven catches for 68 yards. Desmond McDowell was the Quakers’ top rusher (12 carries, 44 yards). Gerard Seals’ nine tackles shared game-high tackles honors and made two stops behind the line.
Coach Chris Rusiewicz’s Quakers host league-rival Randolph-Macon College next Saturday (10/5) at 1:00 p.m.