Washington and Lee Football - Bridgewater Game Notes

Washington and Lee Football - Bridgewater Game Notes

W&L (5-1, 3-0) at BRIDGEWATER (4-2, 1-2)

Saturday, October 20, 2012
Bridgewater, Va. • 1:00 pm

PDF Version of Notes

DATE: October 20, 2012
TIME: 1:00 pm
STADIUM: Jopson Field (3,500)
TV/INTERNET: Penn Atlantic (http://bceagles.nmtvsports.com/)
RADIO: WLUR 91.5 (http://www.wlu.edu/x37490.xml)
SERIES RECORD: W&L Leads  25-17
LAST MEETING: 10/22/11 at W&L (52-42 W&L)
FIRST MEETING: 10/31/64 at W&L (28-16 W&L)
LAST BC WIN: 10/31/09 at W&L (35-34)


9/1/12 at Franklin & Marshall L, 28-35
5-1 Results
9/8/12 at Sewanee W, 28-6
2-5 Results
9/15/12 Centre W, 34-16
4-2 Results
9/29/12 at Guilford
W, 42-21
3-3, 2-1 Results
10/6/12 Emory & Henry W, 45-28
3-3, 0-3 Results
10/13/12 Randolph-Macon W, 49-14
4-2, 2-1 Results
10/20/12 at Bridgewater 1:00 pm 4-2, 1-2 Results
10/27/12 at Catholic 1:00 pm 3-3, 2-1 Results
11/3/12 Hampden-Sydney 1:00 pm 4-2, 2-1 Results
11/10/12 Shenandoah 1:00 pm 1-5, 0-3 Results

Washington and Lee and Bridgewater will be meeting for the 43rd time, with the Generals holding a 25-17 advantage in the all-time series that began during the 1964 season.  W&L has won each of the last two, averaging 540.0 yards and 43.5 points per game over the two contests.  The last three meetings between the two schools have been high scoring yet tight affairs, with an average combined score of 77.3 points and a 4.0 average margin of victory.

Scott Abell (Longwood ‘92) is in his first season as the Generals’ head coach, having replaced Frank Miriello, who retired after 17 seasons.  Abell had served as W&L’s offensive coordinator for the past four seasons, setting records for total offense and scoring each of the past two seasons.  As head coach, Abell is 5-1 overall.

Bridgewater is led by 18th-year Head Coach Mike Clark (Cincinnati ‘80), who is 120-70-1 (.631) for his career with the Eagles. Under Clark’s direction, BC has participated in 16 postseason games and has won two NCAA South Region Championships and five ODAC titles.

Washington and Lee has played 1,029 games in the entire history of the program, compiling a 483-507-39 (.487) overall record.  Only five other schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia have played more games than W&L, which played the first intercollegiate football game in the South, an 1873 matchup with neighboring VMI.

After enjoying a pair of home games over the last two weeks, the Generals will hit the road for the next two weeks to face Bridgewater and Catholic.  W&L has already traveled a combined 1,785 miles this season, playing road contests at Franklin & Marshall, Sewanee and Guilford.  The Generals are 2-1 in these contests.  W&L would much rather be playing at home where it is 12-1 over the last three seasons and carries a 12-game winning streak, the fourth-longest home winning streak in Division III.  Mount Union has the longest home winning streak at 50 games, followed by Trinity of Connecticut (46) and Linfield (21).

(W&L 49, Randolph-Macon 14 • 10/13/12 • Lexington, Va.)
Washington and Lee amassed 511 yards of total offense and averaged 10.4 yards per play in defeating Randolph-Macon, 49-14, at Wilson Field.  W&L never trailed in the contest as the Generals jumped out to a 14-0 lead just 2:10 into the game.  Junior quarterback Nick Lombardo scampered 47 yards on the first play from scrimmage and senior running back Luke Heinsohn ended the 73-yard drive three plays later when he scored on a 9-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead just 1:27 into the game.  Randolph-Macon fumbled the ensuing kickoff on their own 31-yardline and senior running back Sasha Vandalov scored two plays later on a 22-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead.  The Yellow Jackets battled back with a 9-play, 72-yard drive that made it 14-7 at the 8:39 mark of the first quarter, as quarterback Zac Naccarato found fullback Vance Hendren with an 8-yard scoring strike.  The Generals’ opening quarter barrage continued on the next possession as Vandalov ripped off a 68-yard run on the first play of the drive and Lombardo scored from 7 yards out two plays later for a 21-7 lead with 2:53 left.  Randolph-Macon drove to the W&L 31-yardline on the next possession, but senior safety Russell Stewart picked off Naccarato and Heinsohn scored on a 47-yard touchdown run three plays later for a 28-7 lead just 3:31 into the second quarter.  The Yellow Jackets owned the second quarter, controlling the ball for 12:57 and limiting the Generals to just six plays.  Naccarato found wide receiver Luke Sellers with an 8-yard touchdown pass with 3:08 left in the quarter to make it 28-14, but a pair of missed field goals by placekicker Josh Storm, including a 29-yarder with 17 seconds left in the half, kept it a two-score game at the break.  Washington and Lee seized control of the contest during the third period, scoring on drives of 94 and 99 yards.  Heinsohn ended a 12-play, 94-yard drive with 6:11 left in the quarter when he scored from 16 yards out and Vandalov capped a 4-play, 99-yard drive when he rumbled 86 yards for a touchdown with :34 seconds left in the quarter for a 42-14 lead.  Lombardo added a 7-yard touchdown run with 6:55 left in the game for the final margin.  Randolph-Macon held the ball for 38:57 and ran 31 more plays than did W&L.  However, the Generals amassed 473 yards on just 41 carries, averaging 11.5 yards per rush for the afternoon. Vandalov led the way with a career-high 199 yards and two touchdowns on just six carries.  Heinsohn tallied 25 points on the day, rushing 14 times for 125 yards and three touchdowns and booting seven extra points.  Lombardo rushed for 77 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, while senior running back Brett Murray amassed 62 yards on just four carries.  Senior linebacker Jesse Jenkins, senior safety Jake Pelton and junior cornerback Mitchell Thompson led the W&L defense, which allowed just 106 yards to R-MC in the second half, with nine tackles each.  Jenkins added a sack.  Naccarato completed 15-of-25 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions, while Sellers caught six passes for 51 yards and a score.  Sophomore linebacker Tom Solak led the defense with seven tackles. 

(W&L 52, Bridgewater 42 • 10/22/11 • Lexington, Va.)
Washington and Lee racked up 606 yards of total offense and scored 21 fourth quarter points to pull away for a 52-42 win over Bridgewater at Wilson Field.  The two teams combined for 1,090 yards of offense, with 35 total points scored in the final 15 minutes of action.  The Generals took a 31-28 lead with 2:12 left in the third quarter on a 32-yard touchdown reception by running back Brett Murray and extended their lead to 38-28 on a 1-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Charlie Westfal with 9:50 left in the game.  The Eagles climbed to within 38-35 on a 64-yard touchdown run by senior running back Anthony Carter just 1:09 later, but W&L responded with a 9-play, 73-yard drive that was finished with an 8-yard touchdown run by Russell Stewart with 4:32 left in the game to make it 45-35.  Bridgewater struck quickly when tight end Cord Keating hauled in a 21-yard scoring strike from quarterback Carlos Gonzalez to make it a 45-42 game with 3:04 left.  The Generals recovered an onside kick and scored four plays later when Westfal plunged in from 3-yards out for a 52-42 lead with 2:00 to play.  Senior linebacker John Kavanagh intercepted Gonzalez on the ensuing possession and the Generals ran out the clock.  Neither team led by more than a touchdown in the opening half and the Generals carried a 24-21 lead into the halftime break.  Carter scored on a 51-yard touchdown run to give BC a 28-24 lead just 58 seconds into the third quarter, but W&L seized the lead back late in the third quarter setting up the fourth period scoring bonanza.  Washington and Lee was led by Westfal, who completed 11-of-15 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 16 times for 109 yards and two more scores. Murray rushed 17 times for 123 yards and one touchdown, and caught five passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns, while running back Luke Heinsohn rushed 20 times for 138 yards and one touchdown and caught two passes for 40 yards.  Senior linebacker Rob Look and defensive back Jake Pelton each recorded 11 tackles to lead the W&L defense.  Bridgewater was paced by Carter, who rushed 25 times for 233 yards and three touchdowns.  Gonzalez completed 16-of-28 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns (1 INT), while senior wide receiver Leigh Bradley caught a team-high four passes for 64 yards and a touchdown.  Linebacker Salem Nganga notched a team-best 10 tackles.

Bridgewater is 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the ODAC following a 23-20 loss to Guilford last Thursday evening.  The Eagles racked up 399 yards of total offense, but could not overcome three turnovers in the contest.  Junior quarterback Willie Logan led the offense by completing 14-of-23 passes for 245 yards and rushing for 22 yards and two touchdowns.  He was intercepted twice.  Sophomore running back Jacob Wright totaled 88 yards on 17 carries, while junior fullback Nick Wimer amassed 46 yards on three receptions.  Senior linebacker Salem Nganga paced the defense with 13 tackles.  For the season, the Eagles lead the ODAC in both total defense (283.2 ypg) and scoring defense (14.8 ppg) led by junior linebacker Andrew Palmer, who has a team-best 51 tackles, two interceptions and 1.5 sacks.  Nganga has 40 tackles and a pair of sacks, while sophomore defensive back Darrick Gore claims 33 tackles and a sack.  Offensively, Bridgewater averages 374.2 yards and 24.0 points per contest.  Logan has completed 56.8 percent of his passes for 1,230 yards and seven touchdowns with three interceptions.  Sophomore tight end Michael Colee has a team-best 17 catches for 152 yards, and senior tight end Cord Keating has caught 15 balls for 209 yards and one score.  Wright has rushed for a team-high 503 yards and three touchdowns on just 94 carries, while Logan has rushed for 193 yards and four scores on 53 carries.

Prior to the 2010 season, you could count the number of 400-yard rushing performances during the ODAC’s history on one hand.  While this number continues to be a lofty goal, the Generals have begun to set it as the magic number.  W&L has managed 400 rushing yards in a game 13 times over its last three seasons (27 games).  In those games, the Generals are 13-0, scoring an average of 47.9 points per game with an average margin of victory of 24.4 points per game.  To contrast this point, when W&L fails to rush for 400 yards during the same span, it is just 8-6 with an average of 27.1 points per game and a scoring margin of just +3.1 points per game.

The Generals have got the running game rolling over the last three weeks, averaging 467.3 rushing yards per game across those contests.  Included in that total is a conference-record 503 rushing yards two weeks ago against Emory & Henry. With those rushing efforts, Washington and Lee now leads Division III in rushing with an average of 383.3 yards per game.

The Generals have re-written the ODAC record books for team rushing yardage over the last three seasons, culminating with the 500-yard effort against E&H two weeks ago and 473 yards last week against Randolph-Macon.  Below are the top single-game rushing performances in ODAC history.

1. Washington and Lee vs. Emory & Henry, 2012    503
2. Washington and Lee at Catholic, 2010    496
3. Emory & Henry vs. Greensboro, 1998    483
4. Washington and Lee vs. Randolph-Macon, 2012    473
5. Washington and Lee at Sewanee, 2010    467
6. Washington and Lee at Guilford, 2010    463
7. Washington and Lee vs. Alma, 2011    444
7. Washington and Lee vs. Bridgewater, 2011    444
7. Bridgewater vs. Tennessee Wesleyan, 1987    444
10. Bridgewater vs. Lebanon Valley, 1990    441
11. Washington and Lee vs. Catholic, 2011    439
12. Washington and Lee at Bridgewater, 2010    438
13. Washington and Lee vs. Randolph-Macon, 2010    427

The Generals will be chasing their seventh winning season in the last nine years during the 2012 season.  Since going 3-7 in 2003, W&L has produced a 54-33 (.621) overall record and a 34-17 (.667) mark in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.  Those numbers improve to 21-6 (.778) overall and 14-1 (.933) in the ODAC over the last three years.

Senior running back Luke Heinsohn has been having a tremendous season on top of an already impressive career on the gridiron.  Heinsohn rushed for 125 yards and scored 25 total points last week against Randolph-Macon and he now has 749 yards and 15 touchdowns on just 105 carries for the season.  Not only is Heinsohn second in the nation in scoring with an average of 20.7 points per game, but he has already broke the W&L season and career records for both touchdowns and scoring.  He currently has 124 points this season and 280 points for his career.  Heinsohn is also closing in on the school’s all-time rushing record of 3,140 yards set by Chris Sullivan ‘03.  He currently has 3,013 yards, just 128 yards shy of breaking the record.  His 124.8 rushing yards per game average ranks 14th in Division III this season.

Senior slotback Brett Murray is also having a fantastic senior season, totaling 508 rushing yards and four touchdowns on just 74 carries (6.9 avg.).  He also leads the ODAC with an average of 127.5 all-purpose yards per game.  Like Heinsohn, Murray is also moving up the school’s career charts in several categories.  He is fourth all-time in all-purpose yards (4,508) and sixth all-time with 2,316 rushing yards.  He can move past Kevin Weaver ‘87 for fifth-place on the all-time rushing list with 122 more yards.  Murray’s 30 career touchdowns rank sixth all-time and his 180 career points are seventh. A tremendous student, Murray was named the 2011 ODAC Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year and was a Capital One Second Team Academic All-America selection.  He also earned First Team All-ODAC honors as an all-purpose back and First Team All-South Region honors as a special-teamer during the 2011 season.

Junior tight end Alex Evans is tied for sixth all-time at W&L with 11 career receiving touchdowns.  Evans has notched just 44 catches (768 yds.) over his career, meaning that 25 percent of his catches go for scores.

Junior quarterback Nick Lombardo has been settling in as the Generals’ trigger man, totaling 241 yards and two touchdowns on the ground over the last two weeks.  He gained 164 yards against Emory & Henry and 77 yards and two touchdowns last week against Randolph-Macon.  His 164 yards against E&H was the second-highest rushing total ever amassed by a quarterback at Washington and Lee.  Former great Gil Bocetti ‘52, ‘54L holds the record with 175 yards against Davidson in 1949.  This season, Lombardo has rushed 100 times for 455 yards and four touchdowns.  He has also completed 51.2 percent of his passes for 391 yards and four touchdowns.

Senior running back Sasha Vandalov has broken out over the last two weeks, totaling 284 yards and three touchdowns on just 13 carries for an average of 21.8 yards per carry.  During that span, he has rushes of 21, 22, 37, 68 and 86 yards.  Vandalov amassed 199 yards and two scores on just six carries against Randolph-Macon, averaging an astounding 33.2 yards per rush.  Mostly known as Heinsohn’s backup over the last two seasons, Vandalov had totaled just 440 yards and five touchdowns for his career before the last two weeks.

The W&L offense can be known as a grind you down running game, but it also has its share of big plays in the running game.  So far this season, the Generals have ripped off runs of 20 or more yards 22 times.  Senior running back Luke Heinsohn leads the way with eight runs of 20 yards or more, but beyond Heinsohn, there’s plenty of balance.  Senior running back Sasha Vandalov has five (all in the last two weeks), while senior running back Brett Murray and junior quarterback Nick Lombardo both have three.  Sophomore running back Austin Eisenhofer has two and junior quarterback/slotback Luke Terna also has one.

Another secret to the Generals’ success this season has been their conversion rates on offense.  W&L ranks fifth nationally in third down conversions, converting 54.6 percent (42-77) of its attempts.  The Generals also rank third in Division III in fourth down conversions, making good on 82.4 percent of their attempts (14-17).