LEXINGTON, Va. – Washington and Lee jumped out to a 27-0 lead in the opening 17:50 of the game en route to posting a 40-29 football victory over Emory & Henry on Saturday afternoon at Wilson Field.
The Generals (4-1, 2-1) took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards on just four plays, taking a 7-0 lead on a 13-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Josh Breece (Lorton, Va. / Stone Bridge) just 1:52 into the game. Breece accounted for 70 yards on the drive, including a 50-yard run on the first play from scrimmage.
Senior running back Collin Sherman (Virginia Beach, Va. / Cox) capped a 10-play, 61 yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run that made it a 14-0 game at the 6:20 mark of the first quarter.
The lead grew to 21-0 with 38 seconds left in the first quarter when first-year running back Alex Wertz (Sterling, Va. / Dominion) finished off an 8-play, 68-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run. On the ensuing possession, the Generals produced three consecutive sacks, the last of which was a strip sack by junior linebacker Will Corry (Watkinsville, Ga. / Athens Academy). Corry proceeded to pick up the fumble and carried it six yards for a touchdown, W&L's second fumble return touchdown in as many weeks. The PAT was missed, making the score 27-0 with 12:10 left in the second quarter.
Emory & Henry (2-3, 1-2) stopped the early bleeding with a 12-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Hunter Taylor to junior wide receiver Derrick Yates at the 10:58 mark of the second quarter. The PAT failed making the score 27-6.
The Generals added a 31-yard field goal by sophomore placekicker Jarrett Wright (Charlotte, N.C. / Ardrey Kell) to make it 30-6 with 6:43 to play, but the Wasps responded with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Taylor to senior wide receiver Jesse Santiago with 3:23 remaining in the half. Senior running back Sam Wagner converted a two-point play to make the score 30-14. W&L drove into E&H territory in the waning minutes of the first half, but junior quarterback Drew Richardson (Watkinsville, Ga. / Athens Academy) was intercepted on the 5-yardline with nine seconds remaining.
Taylor found Santiago with a 20-yard scoring strike at 6:35 of the third period, and Taylor converted a two-point conversion to pull E&H within a single score (30-22). However, the Generals responded with an 11-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a 15-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Trey Laughlin (Henrico, Va. / Douglas Freeman) to sophomore wide receiver Montgomery Owen (Nashville, Tenn. / Montgomery Bell). The score made it 37-22 with 1:22 left in the penultimate quarter.
Taylor hooked up with Santiago for a third time, once again making it a one score contest. The 9-yard touchdown pass made it 37-29 with 14:03 remaining in the game.
W&L again had the answer on offense, producing a 19-play drive that covered 64 yards and used 9:38 on the clock. Wright booted a 23-yard field goal to make it a two-score game with 4:24 left.
The Wasps drove to the W&L 1-yardline on the next series, but the Generals held on downs with just 1:12 remaining to walk away with the win.
The Blue & White gained 447 yards of total offense led by Breece, who carried 23 times for 163 yards and one touchdown. He moved into seventh-place on the school's all-time rushing list with 2,454 yards.
Richardson rushed for 70 yards on 11 carries and completed 3-of-8 passes for 39 yards. Laughlin went 2-for-2 passing for 35 yards and one touchdown. Sherman added 42 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, and also contributed two catches for 30 yards. On defense, Corry amassed a team-high seven tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Sophomore linebacker Fred Benham (Chesapeake, Va. / Grassfield) added six tackles and a sack.
Emory & Henry had 356 yards of offense thanks to Taylor, who completed 24-of-30 passes for 294 yards and four touchdowns. Santiago hauled in eight passes for 126 yards and three touchdowns, while Yates had five catches for 46 yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore defensive back Tyler Redmond accumulated a game-high 13 tackles and an interception.
Washington and Lee will be back in action on Saturday when it travels to Ferrum for a 4:00 pm contest.