FERRUM — Shenandoah University freshman quarterback Chris Sonnenberg threw for six touchdowns as the Hornets rolled to a 49-31 win over Ferrum in Old Dominion Athletic Conference action on Saturday at W.B. Adams Stadium.
Sonnenberg, making his first career start, completed 21 of 27 passes for 393 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. Senior receiver Casey Stewart caught seven of those passes for 162 yards and three touchdowns, and Brant Butler (three receptions, 124 yards) had a pair of 58-yard scoring grabs.
Stewart had TD catches of 21, 29 and 14 yards, the last two coming in the fourth quarter as SU (5-3, 4-3 ODAC) twice built its lead to 25 points. The performance made Stewart Shenandoah’s all-time leader in career touchdown receptions (29), breaking the previous mark set by Rico Wallace.
Shenandoah took the first lead of the game on Sonnenberg’s touchdown pass to tight end Jack Massie but Ferrum (3-5, 2-4) scored the next 14 points. The Hornets tied the game in the second quarter on Sonnenberg’s first scoring pass to Stewart, and SU followed a Ferrum missed field goal on the next possession with the first of two 58-yard touchdown strikes to Butler.
A Panthers field goal to open the second half cut SU’s lead to 21-17 but Sonnenberg, who threw just one incompletion in the second half on a third-quarter throwaway, directed a seven-play, 81-yard drive that ended in another long TD pass to Butler.
Freshman running back Sam Adams, whose 88-yard kickoff return set up Shenandoah’s first TD of the game, capped another 70-yard drive in the third quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run that put the Hornets up 35-17.
Shenandoah scored six touchdowns on seven possessions from the start of the second quarter until head coach Scott Yoder pulled his starters with four minutes to play in the contest. The Hornets finished with 467 yards of total offense.
“I thought the offense settled in as the game went on and the defense came up with some big turnovers,” Yoder said in a news release.
Ferrum, playing its fourth straight game without All-American running back Brian Mann, had 492 yards of offense but turned the ball over three times. Quarterback Zack Clifford completed 18 of 34 passes for 250 yards, two touchdowns and an interception and rushed for 71 yards and a score.
Shenandoah senior safety Nate Hill, already the program’s all-time leader in career interceptions, had yet another pick against the Panthers, his seventh in eight games this year. Hill’s seven interceptions match the single-season record set by teammate Daquan Pridget last season.
Shenandoah senior linebacker Bernie Hayes led the Hornets with 10 tackles and also recorded an interception. The Hornets’ defense also forced a fumble and blocked Ferrum’s first field goal attempt.
SU enters its bye week before returning to action with a home game against Washington and Lee in the Hornets’ ODAC finale. Shenandoah ends its season with a Nov. 23 home game against Methodist.