Opening night came for the Washington & Lee football team last Friday as they squared off against the King George Foxes to avenge last season’s 41-0 loss. But their hopes of leaving the field with a win were dashed after the visiting Foxes ended that night by defeating the Eagles 28-10.
It looked like redemption might come quickly as W&L’s Jarret Sumiel returned the opening kickoff to the King George 25 yard line. However, four plays later,
the Eagles failed to convert on fourth down.
King George took over from there, driving 84 yards for the game’s first score, a six-yard run by Jordi Estes. Twice during the drive, the Eagle defense forced King George into third down and long situations. Both times, the Foxes responded with big plays, the biggest being a 30-yard Corey Henderson run up the middle.
On W&L’s second possession, the Eagles again pushed the ball into the Red Zone. The drive included a 35-yard Treshaun Brown pass to Davon Hamilton and runs of 16 and eight yards by D.J. Weldon. A screen pass to Weldon set up first and goal, but the Eagles couldn’t find the end zone and had to settle for a 25-yard field goal by Alex Lane.
Neither team could muster much offense the rest of the half. W&L picked up some yardage on a few big plays but couldn’t sustain anything. The stout Eagle defense, led by Kaleel Pratt, Keith Johnson, and Gabe Loesel, continually stuffed the bigger Foxes. The first half ended with King George leading 7-3.
After King George’s opening possession of the second half, it seemed like the defensive battle might be the name of the game the rest of the way. The Foxes got a quick first down, but the Eagle defense held the next three plays forcing a punt.
The Eagles took over on their own 22 and quickly marched it deep into King George territory. Treshaun Brown connected with Alex Lane for a 46-yard gain. After two Weldon carries and a late hit, W&L was back in the red zone looking to take the lead. But then Estes intercepted a Brown pass, and only the hustle of Markeyse Thompson prevented it from being a pick-six.
Momentum wasn’t the only change at this point as King George switched to the single wing offense. W&L’s defense wasn’t prepared for the change, andZack Johnson’s 16-yard touchdown run up the middle caught everyone off guard. King George scored touchdowns in each of its next two possessions on an 11-yard run from Jacoby White and a 35-yard run by Markiece Johnson.
Trailing 28-3, W&L finally found the end zone when Brown hit Hamilton in stride for a 65-yard touchdown pass. The Eagles failed to recover the ensuing onside kick attempt, and neither team was able to move the ball over the final nine and a half minutes.
Washington & Lee coach Antron Yates, while noting, “We left some plays on the field, some touchdowns that could have been made,” was proud of the effort from everyone but especially proud of the defense, giving them an A grade. He gave the coaching a D+ grade pointing out, “We prepared for everything but the single wing, and the single wing is what won the game at the end of the day.”