LEXINGTON, Va. – The Shenandoah football team overcame a 21-6 fourth-quarter deficit to post a 27-24 overtime victory over Washington and Lee in the season finale for both teams on Saturday at Wilson Field.
The Generals (5-4, 3-4) grabbed a 14-0 lead in the second quarter on the strength of touchdown runs by first-year running back Alex Wertz (Sterling, Va./Dominion) and sophomore running back Josh Breece (Lorton, Va./Stone Bridge).
W&L forced a turnover late in the first quarter, setting up a short field for the opening score. Senior defensive end Alex Cantrell (Charlotte, N.C./Providence Day) hit Shenandoah (5-5, 3-4) senior quarterback Hayden Bauserman just as he was releasing the ball, sending the ball fluttering into the air where sophomore defensive back Christopher Elliott (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Latin) secured the interception at the SU 30-yardline and returned it to the 19-yardline. Four plays later, Wertz scored from 2 yards out for a 7-0 lead with 14:29 left in the second quarter.
The Generals stopped the Hornets on downs on the following possession and drove 41 yards on 11 plays for a 1-yard Breece touchdown run that made it 14-0 with 7:24 left in the half.
The Hornets got on the board with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Bauserman to first-year wide receiver Ethan Bigbee at the 4:48 mark of the second quarter. The PAT failed making it 14-6. However, the Generals got another score before the end of the half, driving 52 yards in just 1:30 to assume a 21-6 lead with 34 seconds left on a 3-yard touchdown run by senior running back Collin Sherman (Virginia Beach, Va./Cox).
W&L gained just 22 yards of offense in the third quarter of play, but maintained the 15-point lead entering the fourth quarter thanks to solid play by the defense. Shenandoah broke through to make it an 8-point game (21-13) with 9:38 left in the fourth quarter when Bauserman hooked up with senior wide receiver Jalen Hudson for a 17-yard touchdown.
Shenandoah mounted a final drive from its own 35-yardline with 1:23 remaining. The Hornets needed just three plays to find paydirt, with Bauserman finding junior wide receiver Casey Stewart for a 49-yard touchdown strike that made it 24-22 with 1:02 remaining. The PAT pass from Bauserman to sophomore wide receiver Jake Wallace was good, tying the score at 24-24.
The Generals took over on their own 32-yardline with 1:01 left and drove to the Shenandoah 28-yardline, but senior placekicker Kevin McHugh's (St. Michaels, Md./McDonogh) 45-yard field goal as time expired fell just short, sending the game into overtime.
W&L had the ball first in the extra session, driving to the Hornet 5-yardline before settling for a 22-yard field goal by sophomore placekicker Jarrett Wright (Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell). The Hornets then scored on a 6-yard run by first-year running back Rashadeen Byrd just three plays into their possession to assume the victory.
The Generals finished with 307 yards of total offense led by Breece, who carried 27 times for 150 yards and one touchdown. Sherman tallied 58 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, while Wertz had seven carries for 18 yards and a touchdown. Senior safety Thomas Freeland (Franklin, Tenn./Ensworth) notched a team-high 11 tackles.
Shenandoah finished with 424 yards of offense behind Bauserman, who completed 40-of-59 passes for 335 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions. Byrd carried 12 times for 81 yards and one touchdown, while Wallace caught 13 passes for 102 yards. Hudson added eight catches for 77 yards and one score. Junior linebacker Tyler Williams registered a game-high 17 tackles.