Washington and Lee Football Game Notes - Game #6

GAME 6: WASHINGTON AND LEE (1-4, 0-1) vs. CATHOLIC (0-4, 0-1)

Saturday, October 10, 2009 • Lexington, Va. • 1:30 pm

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Time:  1:30 pm
Site:  Wilson Field (4,000)
Series: W&L Leads 10-3
Last Meeting: 10/11/08 at CUA (CUA won 48-29)
First Meeting: 11/7/81 at CUA (W&L won 24-10)
Last W&L Win: 10/6/07 at W&L (28-21)
Last CUA Win: 10/11/08 at CUA (48-29)
Current Series Streak: CUA +1
W&L vs. CUA at W&L: 7-0
W&L vs. CUA at CUA: 3-3

Washington and Lee and Catholic will be meeting for the 14th time, with the Generals holding a 10-3 advantage in the all-time series that began during the 1981 season. W&L has won five of the last six meetings, but the Cardinals prevailed last season in Washington, D.C., by a score of 48-29.  Catholic has never won at Wilson Field, having dropped all seven games it has played there.

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 72-71-1 (.504) overall record and is just five wins away from overtaking Gary Fallon (1978-94) as the winningest coach in program history.  Miriello is 6-3 all-time against Catholic.  The Cardinals are led by fourth-year Head Coach Dave Dunn (San Diego '91), who is 17-18 overall and 1-2 all-time against W&L.

W&L has compiled a 459-497-39 (.481) 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.

(Randolph-Macon 21, W&L 13; October 3, 2009 - Ashland, Va.)  
The W&L football team rallied with two touchdowns in the final 2:08 of the game, but came up just short in a 21-13 loss at Randolph-Macon on Saturday afternoon at Day Field. The Generals trailed 14-0 late in the fourth quarter but strung together an 11-play drive that covered 54 yards and was capped by a 16-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Charlie Westfal to senior wide receiver Ryan Welsh to make it a 14-6 game with 2:08 remaining. The ensuing PAT was no good. W&L then lined up for an onside kick that was fielded by R-MC first-year running back Vince Hendren and returned 38 yards for a touchdown and a 21-6 lead at the 2:02 mark. The Generals then responded four plays later as sophomore halfback Harrison Hudson made it a 21-13 game on a 13-yard touchdown reception from Westfal with 56 seconds left in the game. The Generals again lined up for an onside kick and this time were successful as Welsh recovered the ball on the Macon 46-yardline with 53 seconds remaining. W&L drove to the R-MC 31-yardline and had three shots at the end zone that proved unsuccessful in the final seconds. The end-of-game excitement nearly overshadowed a record-breaking performance by Randolph-Macon wide receiver Earl Peoples, who set an ODAC record with 20 receptions for 295 yards and two touchdowns. Peoples caught every completed pass by senior quarterback Austin Faulkner, who was 20-of-29 for 295 yards and the two scores. Junior defensive back Scott Shope led the R-MC defense with 12 tackles. Westfal finished the game with 58 yards rushing on 14 carries and he completed 19-of-34 attempts for a season-best 193 yards and two touchdowns for W&L. Sophomore running back Jonathan Clemo carried 19 times for a career-high 125 yards, while Hudson caught five passes for 40 yards and one score. Senior defensive back Donavon Sawyer paced the W&L defense with 12 tackles and a forced fumble.

(CUA 48, W&L 29; October 11, 2008 - Washington, D.C.)  
Catholic racked up 538 yards of total offense and outscored W&L, 20-0, in the final 20:34 of the game en route to a 48-29 victory at DuFour Field. W&L held a 22-21 lead at the break, but the Cardinals opened the second half scoring on a 2-yard touchdown run by tailback Greg Brown for a 28-22 lead just 2:05 into the third period. The Generals responded on the next possession as senior running back Stuart Sitterson scored on a 3-yard touchdown run for a 29-28 lead with 7:44 left in the third quarter. The Cardinals began their run as Brown scored on a 22-yard touchdown run just 2:10 after Sitterson’s score for a 34-29 lead as the PAT failed. Quarterback Keith Ricca then found wide receiver Pete Mercatanti with a 17-yard touchdown pass at the 2:22 mark of the third quarter for a 41-29 lead and Ricca capped the scoring with a 39-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Miles Sabrick with 13:00 left in the game. The Generals were led by Sitterson, who rushed 33 times for 163 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. He finished with 273 all-purpose yards for the day. Quarterback Charlie Westfal rushed for 95 yards on 19 carries and completed 19-of-34 passes for 197 yards, but was intercepted twice in the fourth quarter. Senior wide receiver Billy Murray caught four passes for 57 yards and senior defensive lineman Scott Russell paced the defense with nine tackles and one sack. Brown led the Cardinals’ offense with 211 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. Ricca completed 17-of-26 passes for 287 yards and five touchdowns (1 INT), while Sabrick totaled five catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Ryan McManus also snared four passes for 101 yards and one score. Defensive lineman David Woo led the CUA defense with 11 tackles.

Saturday's homecoming tilt against Catholic has been declared a "blue-out".  All fans are encouraged to wear as much blue as possible and attend the game in support of the Generals. Since 2000, Washington and Lee is 8-1 in its homecoming contests and the Generals are on a current win streak of three in a row with regards to playing on homecoming at Wilson Field. Below is a listing of the W&L homecoming games since 2000.  The last homecoming loss to an ODAC team occurred way back in 1998, a 34-6 loss to Randolph-Macon.

10/21/00    Sewanee    W, 27-24   
10/6/01    Catholic    W, 18-12   
10/5/02    Randolph-Macon    W, 7-3   
10/11/03    Catholic    W, 31-27   
10/2/04    Randolph-Macon    W, 17-0
10/24/05    Centre    L, 26-35
10/21/06    Guilford    W, 34-12
10/6/07    Catholic    W, 28-21
10/4/08    Randolph-Macon    W, 28-16

Catholic is 0-4 overall and 0-1 in the ODAC this season.  The Cardinals are coming off a bye week after dropping a 31-21 decision to Randolph-Macon back on Sept. 26.  CUA led 14-10 at the break, but Macon scored on three of its five offensive possessions in the second half in opening a 31-14 advantage with 9:57 left in the game. Junior quarterback Matt Cantafio and sophomore signal-caller Dylan Knight both played in the game.  Cantafio completed 8-of-14 passes for 101 yards and one touchdown, while Knight completed 6-of-10 passes for 86 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions and rushed 11 times for 37 yards.  Junior running back Rich Barry carried 14 times for 50 yards and sophomore wide receiver Jeff Frusciante snared three passes for 40 yards and one touchdown.  Senior linebacker Joe Mayer led the Cardinal defense with 16 tackles and one sack.  For the year, Catholic's offense is averaging 320.2 yards per game led by Barry, who has rushed 61 times for 303 yards and two touchdowns.  Cantafio has completed 55.1 percent of his passes for 538 yards and three touchdowns (5 INT's), while Knight has completed 46.7 percent of his tosses for 224 yards and one touchdown (1 INT).  He is also the team's second-leading rusher with 34 carries for 177 yards.  Junior slot Mike Smith is among Catholic's top receivers with 17 catches for 170 yards and one touchdown.  Mayer claims a team-best 37 tackles, two forced fumbles and one sack.

Washington and Lee boasts the second-best rushing offense in the league and the top rushing defense in the conference.  W&L is averaging 192.6 yards per game on the ground, just 0.2 yards behind Emory & Henry for the league lead.  Defensively, the Generals are allowing just 66.0 yards per game and 2.0 yards per rush this season -- good for 19th-best in Division III.  W&L has yet to allow a team to rush for 100 yards in a game this season.

The trademark for success for the Generals over the years has been fundamental football, but that is failing W&L this season with a -6 turnover margin. During a string of four-straight winning seasons between 2004-07, W&L had a cumulative turnover margin of +12 (102 forced, 90 committed).  Over the past two seasons, that margin has dipped to -10 (33 forced, 43 committed).

Senior defensive end Matt Cassilly is continuing to have a career-best season after moving to defensive line after playing linebacker during his first three seasons.  Cassilly notched seven tackles and shared a sack against Randolph-Macon on Saturday.  For the year, Cassilly has totaled 32 tackles and he is second in the ODAC with 6.0 sacks.  He also has 8.5 tackles for a loss, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

Sophomore running backs Jonathan Clemo and Harrison Hudson have both been solid in the W&L offensive backfield this season.  However, playing together in the same backfield is nothing new as they both attended Salem High School near Roanoke, Va.  Through five games, the duo has accounted for 659 of the team's 1,475 offensive yards -- nearly 45 percent of the team's offensive production.  They have also produced nine of the team's 14 touchdowns thus far.  Clemo currently leads the team in rushing (427 yds.), touchdowns (6) and scoring (36 pts.), while Hudson leads the team in average yards per rush (5.3) and receptions (11).  He is also tied for second on the team in touchdowns scored with three.


W&L has been known for having a dangerous return game over the years, having compiled 10 return touchdowns since the beginning of the 2000 season (9 KR, 1 PR).  That tradition has continued this season with the combination of sophomore John Kavanagh and first-year Brett Murray.  Together they have W&L again leading the ODAC and ranking seventh nationally in kickoff return average (27.0 ypr) and they have produced long kickoff returns of 43, 44, 58, 61 and 66 yards through four games.  Kavanagh leads the ODAC and ranks third in Division III with a 36.0 yards per return average.