LEXINGTON, Va. – The Washington and Lee football team fumbled on the Hampden-Sydney 2-yardline with just 1:04 remaining in the game in falling to the Tigers by a score of 24-20 on Saturday at Wilson Field.
The Generals (5-3, 3-3) forced H-SC (4-4, 4-2) to punt from its own 11-yardline with 2:16 remaining in the contest. The punt was shanked out of bounds at the Tiger 31-yardline, setting up W&L for a potential game-winning drive down 24-20. Sophomore quarterback Trey Laughlin (Henrico, Va. / Douglas Freeman) completed a 13-yard strike to sophomore wide receiver Montgomery Owen (Nashville, Tenn. / Montgomery Bell) at the 2-yardline on the fourth play of the series, setting up a first-and-goal. Sophomore running back Josh Breece (Lorton, Va. / Stone Bridge) took the first down handoff and was met in the backfield by a Hampden-Sydney defender. Breece broke free and made a second effort for the end zone, before H-SC sophomore linebacker Brendan Weinberg stripped the ball free at the 2-yardline to end the threat.
W&L had taken a 20-17 lead with 14:00 left in the fourth quarter when Laughlin capped a five-play, 76-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run. His 62-yard run on the second play of the series set everything up.
Hampden-Sydney marched right down the field on the next series to wrestle the lead back (24-20). The 14-play, 75-yard drive was finished off with a 6-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Justin Pollard at the 7:15 mark of the fourth quarter.
It appeared as though the Generals were going to take the lead right back, as first-year running back Alex Wertz (Sterling, Va. / Dominion) took the ensuing kickoff back 73 yards to the Tiger 21-yardline. A shoestring tackle by H-SC senior defensive back Matt Dooley was all that prevented Wertz from finding paydirt. Five plays later, the Generals faced a 4th-and-goal from the Hampden-Sydney 4-yardline, but junior running back Jimmie Johnson (Hoover, Ala. / Hoover) was stopped for a 1-yard gain on the play by senior linebacker Chad Vanlandingham. The Generals forced the Hampden-Sydney offense into a 3-and-out, setting up the game's concluding moments.
W&L opened a 13-7 lead in the second quarter on touchdown runs by Wertz and Breece, but the Tigers grabbed the halftime advantage (14-13) on a 3-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Alec Cobb to junior wide receiver Major Morgan with just 12 seconds remaining before the break.
W&L gained 323 yards of total offense paced by Laughlin, who rushed 15 times for a career-high 112 yards and one touchdown. Breece had 89 yards and a score on 18 carries, but fumbled twice. Wertz amassed 56 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. Junior safety Davis Waldrop (Charlotte, N.C. / Charlotte Christian) led the defense with seven tackles and a pass breakup.
Hampden-Sydney gained 337 yards, with Cobb completing 35-of-50 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns. Pollard rushed 19 times for 54 yards and a touchdown, while Morgan caught nine passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns. Dooley notched a game-high 11 tackles and a fumble recovery to lead the defense.
Washington and Lee will conclude the 2018 season at home next Saturday when it hosts Shenandoah for a 1:00 pm contest.