SEWANEE, Tenn. – The Washington and Lee football team recovered from a 17-0 deficit in the fourth quarter to post a 21-17 victory over Sewanee on Saturday afternoon at Harris Stadium.
After sophomore running back Ronald Hayes gave the Tigers the 17-0 advantage with a 39-yard touchdown reception at the 13:44 mark of the fourth period, the Generals began their comeback. Sophomore running back Collin Sherman (Virginia Beach, Va. / Cox) returned the ensuing kickoff 38 yards to the W&L 40-yardline and six plays later senior quarterback Charlie Nelson (Redding, Conn. / St. Luke's) scored on a 13-yard touchdown run to make it 17-7 with 11:53 to play.
The Generals forced a 3-and-out on the next series and took over on their own 24-yardline. On the second play of the possession, Nelson found junior wide receiver Witt Hawkins (Memphis, Tenn. / Memphis University School) with a pass for a 36-yard gain and three plays later junior running back McKenna Johnston (Jupiter, Fla. / Benjamin School) scored on a 35-yard touchdown run to make it 17-14 with 9:25 remaining.
The Tigers drove to the W&L 43-yardline on the ensuing series, but first-year linebacker Riley Bartlett (Rockville, Md. / Georgetown Prep) ended the threat with a sack on third down, and the punt sailed into the end zone giving W&L possession at the 20-yardline with 4:36 left.
The Blue and White gained four yards on first down, but faced a 4th-and-6 from its 24-yardline when Nelson completed a 31-yard pass to junior running back Walker Brand (Roanoke, Va. / Hidden Valley). First-year running back Oliver Herndon (Crozet, Va. / Western Albemarle) scampered 24 yards on the next play and two plays later Nelson hooked up with Hawkins for a 31-yard touchdown pass that gave the Generals their first lead of the game at the 2:59 mark.
Senior placekicker Matt Underhill booted the kickoff into the endzone and the Tigers started a final drive at the 25-yardline. Sewanee methodically moved the ball downfield, eventually reaching the W&L 24-yardline with less than 20 seconds remaining. The Tigers faced a 4th-and-9 at that spot when first-year quarterback Sam Hearn's pass to junior wide receiver Steven Hearn was stopped two yards shy of the sticks with nine seconds remaining and the Generals walked away with the win.
W&L amassed 400 yards of total offense, including 261 yards on the ground. Nelson completed 7-of-14 passes for 139 yards and one touchdown and rushed 13 times for 15 yards and one score. Hawkins hauled in six passes for 108 yards and one touchdown, the first W&L player with 100 yards receiving since the final game of the 2011 season. Senior running back Connor Chess (Fairfax, Va. / Flint Hill) rushed 11 times for 54 yards and Johnston amassed 46 yards and a touchdown on three carries. Junior defensive back David Hogan (Matthews, N.C. / Charlotte Christian) led the defense with 10 tackles.
Hearn completed 14-of-26 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 10 times for 38 yards to lead the Tigers. Junior running back Mikey Plancher carried 21 times for 71 yards and sophomore wide receiver Allan Parrott caught three passes for 61 yards. Junior defensive back John Cleveland tallied a team-best 11 tackles.
Washington and Lee returns to action on Saturday when it hosts Claremont-Mudd-Scripps for a 5:00 pm contest.