BY ANDREW JOHNSON
After an entire offseason of tiring practices, relentless film study and mounting anticipation, it’s always crucial for a team to put forth a solid showing in the first performance of their season.
Getting off on the right foot can go a long way toward establishing positive momentum and building confidence for the remainder of the season. Behind an overwhelming offensive outburst and a stifling defensive presence, the Hopkins football team won decisively against Randolph-Macon College this past Saturday. Trailing 10-7 late in the first period, the Jays went on a decisive 42-point run and ultimately downed the Randolph-Macon Yellow Jackets by a 52-17 margin.
The play that instigated the offensive explosion for the Jays was a deep connection between two of the team’s most vital players.
Faced with an early 10-7 deficit, junior Hopkins quarterback Jonathan Germano hit junior receiver Bradley Munday as he raced across the middle of the field.
Munday ran untouched for 50 yards into the end zone, ultimately putting the Blue Jays up for good. Germano and Munday proved instrumental in the outburst that followed, the former finishing with 320 yards and five touchdown passes, and the latter totaling an incendiary 229 all purpose yards, 155 of which came on 10 receptions.
The rout did not happen early in the contest, as the Yellow Jackets got out to a hot start offensively. Randolph-Macon totaled 145 yards on offensive with their first two possessions in what seemed to have the makings of a competitive shootout.
However, the Hopkins defense was able to clamp down on the Yellow Jacket’s attack the rest of the contest, allowing only 198 total yards and one score the remainder of the game.
Leading the defensive assault was junior standout linebacker Jack Campbell, who finished the game with a team high eight tackles.
Also contributing mightily was junior defensive back Dan Johnson, who finished with seven tackles and recorded an interception. As the defense clamped down on the Yellow Jacket’s attack, the offense began to explode behind the efforts of Germano and Munday.
Germano had one of the greatest passing performances in Hopkins history, and his five touchdowns trailed only Hewitt Tomlin, who set the school record with six against the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) in 2001.
Other standouts for Hopkins during their 42-point outburst included junior running back Stuart Walters, whose electric 69 yard scoring run with 8:02 left in the first half pushed Hopkins solidly ahead of the Yellow Jackets for good.
Walters finished with a team leading 91 yards on the ground, needing only eight carries to nearly break the century mark. Other standout rushers included sophomore Ryan Cary who finished with 89 yards and Germano, who added 66 yards on the ground to his already magnificent passing performance.
Hopkins totaled 294 rushing yards and 327 passing yards in the contest, and their mark of 621 yards of total offensive ended up being the fifth most ever in Hopkins’ history.
Tallying nearly a third of the offensive yards by himself, receiver Munday was certainly instrumental to the success of the Jays in their opener. When asked to comment on the keys to the Jay’s offensive outburst, Munday mentioned the multitude of offensive weapons the team possesses and the successful and relentless offseason training the team had undertaken to prepare for their opener.
“As a team, offensively we have a lot of weapons who all can have big games every week,” Munday said. “Coming off a successful summer camp we felt confident that we could put up a lot of points in any game. Our coaches have put us in a great position to make that happen. So, we stuck to the game plan and it worked out as planned. Like I said, it’s awesome to have such a versatile group of offensive players where anybody can make a play.”
While Munday has high hopes for the rest of the season and believes the Jays can repeat as Centennial Champions, Munday also stressed that it is important for the team to remain focused, keep practicing hard and take every game one at a time. “Our number one goal is to win the Centennial Conference. We’ve been successful over the last couple years, but we can’t let that make us ease up,” Munday said. “Coach Margraff makes sure we come to practice every day with the mindset of having to work like we haven’t won anything yet. So we have to take each week at a time and approach every week like it’s our biggest game of the year and not get caught looking ahead.”
The football team plays next this Saturday, Sept. 12t as they host Susquehanna University at 1 p.m. on Homewood Field.