Washington and Lee Football - Franklin & Marshall Game Notes

Washington and Lee Football - Franklin & Marshall Game Notes

W&L (0-0) at FRANKLIN & MARSHALL (0-0)

Saturday, September 1, 2012
Lancaster, Pa. • 1:00 pm

PDF Version of Notes

DATE: September 1, 2012
TIME: 1:00 pm
STADIUM: Sponaugle-Williamson Field (4,000)
TV/INTERNET: Stretch Internet (http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/fandm.portal#)
RADIO: WLUR Radio 91.5 (http://www.wlu.edu/x37490.xml)
LAST MEETING: 9/3/11 at W&L (24-10 W&L)
FIRST MEETING: 10/11/58 at W&L (14-13 F&M)
LAST F&M WIN: 9/4/10 at F&M (35-7)


9/1/12 at Franklin & Marshall 1:00 pm
0-0 Results
9/8/12 at Sewanee 1:30 pm
0-0 Results
9/15/12 Centre 7:00 pm
0-0 Results
9/29/12 at Guilford
7:00 pm 0-0 Results
10/6/12 Emory & Henry 1:30 pm
0-0 Results
10/13/12 Randolph-Macon 1:00 pm 0-0 Results
10/20/12 at Bridgewater 1:00 pm 0-0 Results
10/27/12 at Catholic 1:00 pm 0-0 Results
11/3/12 Hampden-Sydney 1:00 pm 0-0 Results
11/10/12 Shenandoah 1:00 pm 0-0 Results


W&L and Franklin & Marshall will be meeting for the 13th time, with the series tied at six games apiece.  The Generals ended a three-game losing skid against the Diplomats by claiming a 24-10 win last season in Lexington.  Since the series was re-kindled in 2006, F&M has taken four of the six encounters.

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.

Franklin & Marshall is led by John Troxell (Lafayette ‘94), who is in his seventh season with the Diplomats.  Troxell has led F&M to a 29-33 (.468) record over his six seasons, including a 9-2 mark during the 2009 campaign en route to earning Centennial Conference Coach of the Year accolades.

Washington and Lee has played 1,023 games in the entire history of the program, compiling a 478-506-39 (.486) 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.

Since 1900, W&L is 58-53-1 (.522) in season-opening games.  However, the Generals have not won a season-opening road contest since a 14-13 win at Towson State on Sept. 20, 1969.  That is a string of 20-straight losses in road openers.

Among the state slogans in Pennsylvania is “You’ve got a friend in Pennsylvania”.  However, Pennsylvania has proved to be less than friendly to the Generals who represent the slogan “Virginia is for Lovers”.  In fact, W&L is just 1-5 in its last six games played in the Keystone State.  The Generals have not defeated F&M in Lancaster since a 40-0 win in 1961, but they did win their last outing played in Pennsylvania, a 45-3 win over Juniata in the 2010 season finale.

(W&L 24, F&M 10 • 9/3/11 • Lexington, Va.)
The Generals forced five turnovers and recorded five sacks in ending a three-game losing streak to Franklin & Marshall with a 24-10 victory over the Diplomats at Wilson Field. The W&L offense opened the season with a sluggish effort, gaining just 228 yards and converting on just 5-of-14 third down conversions on the day. However, the Generals’ defense picked up the slack by holding F&M to just 14 rushing yards (316 total) with three fumble recoveries and two interceptions. W&L opened the scoring with 14:16 left in the second quarter when senior quarterback Charlie Westfal found tight end Alex Evans with a 10-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead. The Diplomats responded on their ensuing possession when placekicker Chris DeStefano capped a 12-play, 57-yard drive with a 25-yard field goal at the 10:02 mark. F&M drove to the W&L 11-yardline with 1:56 remaining in the half, but senior linebacker Rob Look intercepted F&M senior quarterback John Harrison on the 9-yardline to preserve the Generals’ lead. The Diplomats again drove into W&L territory with seconds remaining, but DeStefano missed wide right from 31 yards out as time expired and the Generals carried a 7-3 lead into the break. W&L extended its lead to 10-3 on a 40-yard field goal by senior placekicker Peter Alston late in the third quarter and extended its lead early in the fourth quarter. The Generals were forced to punt on their first possession of the fourth period and the punt hit an F&M player on the leg and was recovered on the Diplomats’ 9-yardline. Two plays later, running back Brett Murray scored from six yards out to give W&L a 17-3 lead with 10:29 left in the game. Franklin & Marshall pulled to within one score on the game’s next possession when Harrison found running back Lamont Jackson from 17-yards out with 7:20 remaining to make it 17-10. However, the Generals took the next possession 65 yards on six plays for a 24-10 lead with 3:51 to play. Running back Sasha Vandalov opened the possession with a 40-yard run and Westfal capped the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run. The Diplomats drove into W&L territory with just over two minutes to play, but senior cornerback John Beriont intercepted Harrison on the 21-yardline to preserve a 2-touchdown lead. Shortly thereafter, the game was delayed due to lightning, but the final 1:43 ran off the clock harmlessly just over 30 minutes later giving the Generals a win in their season-opener. Running back Russell Stewart led the Generals on the ground with 57 yards on 10 carries. Murray totaled 56 yards and one touchdown on 16 rushes, while Vandalov had 55 yards on eight carries. Westfal completed 3-of-9 passes for 30 yards and one score and rushed for another touchdown, and Evans caught two balls for 17 yards and one score. Defensively, linebacker Jesse Jenkins notched a team-best 11 tackles, while defensive lineman Alex Castelli chipped in a pair of sacks. Harrison paced the F&M offense by completing 28-of-46 passes for 302 yards and one touchdown (2 INTs), while senior running back John Kaschak rushed 10 times for 29 yards. Jackson led the Diplomat receivers with eight catches for 87 yards and one touchdown.

Franklin & Marshall returns an experienced team, especially on defense where nine starters return from a team that allowed just 306.3 yards and 23.6 points per game last season, when F&M finished 3-7 overall.  On offense, the Diplomats must replace John Harrison, who graduated as the most prolific passer in school history with 8,886 yards and 87 touchdowns.  Junior E.J. Schneider will take the snaps after completing 41-of-76 passes for 567 yards and two touchdowns (5 INTs) last year.  He’ll throw to a trio of returnees in junior Tim Muller (44 rec., 550 yds., 2 TDs) and sophomores Jordan Zackery (44 rec., 392 yds., 2 TDs) and Paul McGann (26 rec., 272 yds., 1 TD).  Sophomore Lamont Jackson will be F&M’s primary ballcarrier after racking up 284 yards and one touchdown on the ground and 200 yards and two touchdowns receiving during his rookie campaign.  On defense, the Diplomats are keyed by a pair of returning all-conference linemen in seniors C.T. Marsh and Kenny Provost.  Marsh posted 8.5 sacks last season and is the F&M all-time leader with 26 sacks.  Provost had 38 tackles and 4.5 sacks as well.  Senior Sam Massaro returns for his senior season after missing much of last season with an injury.  He is a two-time All-Centennial Conference pick, including a first team selection as a sophomore.

Franklin & Marshall has proven to be Coach Abell’s kryptonite over the last four seasons.  Abell’s offenses have ranked among the best in Division III over the last two seasons, averaging 464.1 yards and 37.0 points per game since the beginning of the 2010 season.  However, since Abell’s arrival as offensive coordinator in 2008, the Generals have managed an average of just 173.8 yards and 14.5 points per game against the Diplomats.

Prior to the 2010 season, you could count the number of 400-yard rushing performances during the league’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 10 times over its last two seasons (21 games).  In those games, the Generals are 10-0, scoring an average of 48.7 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 6-5 with an average of 26.3 points per game and a scoring margin of just +1.0 points per game.

The Generals will be chasing their seventh winning season in the last nine years as they take the field for the 2012 season.  Since going 3-7 in 2003, W&L has produced a 49-32 (.605) overall record and a 31-17 (.646) mark in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.  Those numbers improve to 16-5 (.762) overall and 11-1 (.917) in the ODAC over the last two years.

One of the big questions will be who replaces Charlie Westfal ‘12, who graduated as the Generals’ all-time leader in both total offense (6,987 yds.) and passing touchdowns (45).  Westfal earned the ODAC Offensive Player of the Year Award and also received the Willie Lanier Award as the top college division player in Virginia after serving as the trigger man for W&L’s prolific attack.  Junior Nick Lombardo is charged with replacing Westfal after playing in all 10 games last season and completing all seven of his passes for 88 yards.  Lombardo is also a talented runner, totaling 160 yards and one touchdown on 43 carries a season ago.  Junior Luke Terna will also likely see some action as well.

Plenty returns from W&L’s 8-2 squad in 2011.  The Generals welcome back 15 starters and 38 letterwinners, including seven all-conference picks from a year ago.  On offense, W&L will look to senior running backs Brett Murray and Luke Heinsohn, who both garnered all-conference honors last season.  Murray earned first team honors after totaling a conference-best 1,561 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns in 2011.  Heinsohn was a second team pick after rushing for a team-best 900 yards and 13 touchdowns.  Another top offensive weapon returning to the fold is junior tight end Alex Evans, who was a second team all-conference pick after posting 25 catches for 470 yards and seven touchdowns.  Up front, juniors Connor Hollenbeck and Bobby Jones return as all-conference honorees.  Hollenbeck was a second-teamer, while Jones was a third team honoree.  The defense is highlighted by the return of senior safety Jake Pelton, who has twice earned First Team All-ODAC honors.  A preseason First Team All-America choice by d3Football.com, Pelton was an Honorable Mention All-America honoree last season after totaling 76 tackles and two interceptions.  Senior linebacker Stephen Peck garnered third team laurels last season after notching 46 tackles and a team-high six sacks.

Senior slotback Brett Murray has had an impressive run (pun intended) over his first three seasons and is poised for another tremendous season in 2012.  Murray earned First Team All-ODAC honors as an all-purpose back and First Team All-South Region laurels as a special-teamer last season when he led the league with 1,561 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns.  Murray rushed for 867 yards and nine touchdowns, caught 25 passes for 378 yards and two more scores and returned 13 kickoffs for a 24.3 yard average and another touchdown.  His 3,743 career all-purpose yards rank fourth all-time, while his 26 career touchdowns are sixth in school history.  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.

Senior slotback Luke Heinsohn has also had a fine career that will continue with his senior season.  Over his first three years, Heinsohn has rushed for 2,264 yards, the sixth-highest total in school history.  He also ranks eighth all-time with 156 career points (26 rushing TDs).  Heinsohn led the team in rushing last season with 900 yards and 13 touchdowns on 142 carries, earning Second Team All-ODAC honors.  As a sophomore, he tallied 1,321 yards and 13 touchdowns on 194 carries.  Heinsohn has been primarily used as the option back (tailback) his first three seasons, but moves to the more versatile slotback position for his senior season.  He’ll also handle the placekicking duties this season.

Speaking of Heinsohn, the pressure will be on to continue the Generals’ streak of consecutive PATs made that was due, in large part, to the steady leg of Peter Alston ‘12.  W&L kickers have made 93 consecutive PAT attempts (92 by Alston) dating back to the fourth game of the 2010 season.

Washington and Lee’s offense ranked third in Division III in total offense (491.8 ypg), fourth in rushing offense (331.8 ypg), fourth in first downs per game (25.0), fifth in passing efficiency rating (171.7) and 15th in scoring offense (38.9 ppg) last season, due in large part to the play of the offensive line.  Together, the line of senior Mike Stefanelli (6-0, 250), juniors Bobby Jones (6-3, 270), Lee Cummings (6-1, 255) and Connor Hollenbeck (6-5, 250) and sophomore Micah Fleet (6-3, 275) average 6-2 and 260 pounds.