Washington and Lee Football Game Notes - Game #1


Saturday, September 5, 2009 • Lexington, Va. • 1:00 pm

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Time: 1:00 pm
Site: Wilson Field (4,000)
Series: W&L leads 5-4
Last Meeting: 9/6/08 at F&M (F&M won 24-0)
First Meeting: 10/11/58 at W&L (F&M won 14-13)
Last W&L Win: 9/8/07 at W&L (20-0)
Last F&M Win: 9/6/08 at F&M (24-0)
Current Series Streak: F&M +1
W&L vs. F&M at W&L: 3-1
W&L vs. F&M at F&M: 2-3

W&L and Franklin & Marshall will be meeting for the 10th time, with the Generals holding a 5-4 advantage in the all-time series that began during the 1958 season.  F&M has won two of the three meetings since the series was rekindled during the 2006 campaign.  Each of the last two games have been shutouts, with W&L winning 20-0 in Lexington during the 2007 season and F&M winning 24-0 last year in Lancaster, Pa.

Frank Miriello (East Stroudsburg '67) is in his 15th season as the head coach at W&L and his 42nd year of coaching.  He claims a 71-67-1 (.514) overall record and is just six wins away from overtaking Gary Fallon (1978-94) as the winningest coach in program history.  The Diplomats are led by fourth-year Head Coach John Troxell (Lafayette '94).  Troxell posted a 4-6 record last season and is 11-19 (.367) over his first three seasons at F&M.

W&L has compiled a 458-493-39 (.482) all-time record over 116 seasons of football.  The Generals have been linked to the first intercollegiate football game played in the South, an 1873 matchup with neighboring VMI, though the University officially recognized football as a varsity sport beginning in 1890.

(Emory & Henry 17, W&L 14 [OT]; November 8, 2008 - Lexington, Va.)
Emory & Henry senior placekicker Luke Hawk hit a 35-yard field goal in overtime to lift the Wasps to a 17-14 win over Washington and Lee at Wilson Field. The Generals began the scoring just 2:54 into the game following an Emory & Henry fumble on their own 28-yardline. Three plays later, senior running back Stuart Sitterson scored on a 4-yard plunge for a 7-0 lead. W&L opened 14-0 advantage with 8:43 left in the first half on another Sitterson touchdown run, this time scoring from 1-yard out to cap a 6-play drive that began on the E&H 19-yardline following a blocked punt by W&L running back Jonathan Clemo. The Wasps capitalized on the first play following a fumble by W&L quarterback Charlie Westfal as running back Caleb Jennings scored on a 25-yard touchdown run with 5:32 left in the first half to make the score 14-7. After a scoreless third quarter, the Wasps knotted the score at 14-14 just seven seconds into the fourth quarter as quarterback Brent McDonald found wide receiver Jonathan Hawkins on a 25-yard scoring strike. E&H had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but Hawk's 38-yard field goal attempt as time expired sailed wide. W&L received the ball first in overtime, but Westfal was intercepted in the end zone on the first play of the extra session. After three plays and seven yards gained, Hawk then kicked the game-winner for E&H. Washington and Lee was paced by Sitterson, who tallied 182 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. Westfal rushed 13 times for 34 yards and completed 7-of-15 passes for 89 yards and one interception. Senior defensive lineman Tommy Matteo led the Generals' defense with 10 tackles and a pair of sacks. The Wasps were led by Jennings, who totaled 304 all-purpose yards and one touchdown. Senior defensive end Matt Baldwin led the E&H defense with 10 tackles and a forced fumble.

(F&M 24, W&L 0; September 6, 2008 - Lancaster, Pa.)
The Franklin & Marshall football team limited Washington and Lee to just 51 yards of total offense and two first downs en route to a 24-0 victory over the Generals at Sponaugle-Williamson Field. The game took place at the height of Tropical Storm Hanna and featured strong winds and heavy rain as W&L was shut out for the first time since a 42-0 loss at Wilkes in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. The Generals' best scoring opportunity came early in the first quarter when linebacker David Love blocked a punt and W&L took over on the F&M 11-yardline. However, the Generals could not punch it across for a touchdown and the snap was fumbled on a 26-yard field goal attempt ending the threat. The Diplomats opened the scoring with 6:15 left in the first half as Paul Sousa nailed a 21-yard field goal following a W&L fumble on its own 11 yardline. F&M pushed out to a 10-0 lead with 2:10 left in the first half on a 1-yard touchdown run by John Kaschak and carried the 10-point lead into halftime. F&M stretched to a 17-0 lead on a 17-yard touchdown pass from John Harrison to Matt Jenschke with 4:54 left in the third quarter and Jarrell Diggs provided the final margin with a 49-yard punt return for a touchdown with 6:12 left in the contest. Senior running back Stuart Sitterson led the Generals with 191 all-purpose yards. He rushed 20 times for 23 yards and amassed 168 yards on returns. Senior linebacker Chris Ballantyne paced the defense with 10 tackles, including 2.0 stops for a loss. Kaschak rushed 38 times for 112 yards and one touchdown to lead the F&M offense. James Gregory recorded eight tackles to pace the defense.

Since 1900, W&L is 57-51-1 (.528) in season-opening games.  The Generals have won their last two season-opening games at home, including a 20-0 win over F&M in the 2007 season-opener.  Opening on the road has been a problem, however, as the Generals have not won a season-opener on the road since a 14-13 win at Towson State on Sept. 20, 1969.  That is a string of 19-straight losses in road openers.

The Generals dropped the final five games of last season and are looking to stop the string short of six-straight losses.  W&L has not had a six-game losing streak since dropping the first six contests of the 1993 campaign.

After reeling off 11-straight wins at home from 2005-08, the Generals have dropped their last three home contests.  W&L has not lost four-straight home contests since a stretch that occurred over the 1998 and 1999 seasons.

F&M is coming off a second-straight 4-6 campaign.  The Diplomats feature a young group of returnees, but there is plenty of experience at the skill positions.  John Harrison returns for his sophomore season at quarterback after completing 58.3 percent of his passes for 1,357 yards and 14 touchdowns (11 INT's) last season.  Harrison will have a host of weapons to choose from, including seniors George Eager and Ryan Murray, juniors Jay Ridinger and Michael Deutch and sophomores Jarrell Diggs, Alan Williams and John Kaschak.  Eager led the team in receiving with 51 catches for 637 yards and six touchdowns, while Murray finished second on the team in rushing with 295 yards and two touchdowns on 86 carries.  Ridinger was second in receiving with 26 catches for 234 yards and three touchdowns and Deutsch snared 13 passes for 205 yards and one touchdown.  Diggs caught 17 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 49 yards and two more scores.  Williams rushed for 148 yards and caught 14 passes for 127 yards and one touchdown and Kaschak led the team in rushing with 602 yards and two touchdowns on 176 attempts.  However, the Diplomats are thin up front as only senior tackle Clarke Miller returns to the starting lineup.  Defensively, F&M must replace its top two tacklers, but returns senior safety Jeff Keller, senior cornerbacks Jeffrey Liberatore and Barry Lovett and junior linebacker Shane Gray.  Kellar was a Second Team All-Centennial Conference selection after totaling 55 tackles and three interceptions a season ago.  Lovett was a first team choice after posting 36 tackles and two interceptions, while Liberatore logged 45 stops.  Gray added 45 tackles, including 6.5 for a loss.  Eager and Diggs both had solid seasons in the return game and Eager garnered First Team All-Centennial laurels after averaging 27.1 yards per kick return with one score.  Diggs averaged 12.2 per punt return with one touchdown.

The Generals lost a lot of their offensive production in the graduation of two-time First Team All-ODAC running back Stuart Sitterson.  However, there is plenty of weapons returning to pick up the slack starting with sophomore quarterback Charlie Westfal.  Westfal garnered ODAC Rookie of the Year laurels after passing for 1,310 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushing for 511 yards and three more touchdowns.  Sophomores Jonathan Clemo and Harrison Hudson are the likely candidates to replace Sitterson's running production.  Clemo rushed for 94 yards and one touchdown, while Hudson carried just 10 times for eight yards.  Leading receiver Billy Murray has graduated, but many of the top pass catchers are back for another go-round.  Sophomore Cody Smith finished with 20 catches for 241 yards and four touchdowns, while senior Ryan Welsh totaled 20 catches for 199 yards and one score.  Senior Tucker Laurens also returns after catching 14 balls for 110 yards and one touchdown a year ago.  The strength of the Generals' offense may very well lie with the offensive line.  Senior First Team All-ODAC and All-State guard Charlie Craigle anchors the group, along with junior two-time Second Team All-ODAC guard Greg Kurkis.  Sophomore John Fitzgibbons moves to tackle after starting all 10 games at center during his rookie season and a combination of talented youngsters will look to fill the two open slots. Another factor will be the return of offensive coordinator Scott Abell and his multiple option offense, which made its debut last season.  Another year of seasoning should pay off for W&L.

W&L suffered some losses due to graduation, especially losing All-ODAC defensive linemen Tommy Matteo and Scott Russell, along with All-ODAC safety Chris Prugar.  Senior Jeff Boateng will continue to plug to middle of the line after totaling 20 tackles a year ago.  Seniors Rick Barron and Matt Cassilly are expected to bookend Boateng in the Generals' multiple 3-4 defensive scheme.  Barron had 29 tackles last season, while Cassilly was a Second Team All-ODAC pick after notching 62 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two interceptions at linebacker last season.  At linebacker, the Generals will look for more speed and less bulk after moving several players from the backfield.  Senior David Love returns after notching 26 tackles at linebacker last season, while senior Joseph Roane (5 tackles) also moves from the secondary.  Senior Gus Cavanaugh (30 tackles, 1 sack) and sophomore Rob Look (25 tackles) will see action at inside linebacker.  The secondary returns seniors Donavon Sawyer (63 tackles, 2 INT's) and Frank Dale (49 tackles) at safety and junior David Sternlicht (36 tackles, 1 INT) and sophomore Mike Hartford (13 tackles, 1 INT) at cornerback.

The special teams are in good shape with the return of placekickers Martin Prichard, Tommy Kennedy and Peter Alston, along with sophomore punter Spencer Richards.  As a group, the kickers went 6-for-10 on field goals and 26-of-28 on field goals, while Richards averaged 33.9 yards per punt.