WINCHESTER, Va. – Washington and Lee rolled up 613 yards of total offense and won its fourth ODAC Football Championship in the last eight years with a 48-21 victory over Shenandoah on Saturday afternoon at Shentel Stadium.
The Generals (8-2, 5-1) ground out 466 yards via the rush, as first-year running back Josh Breece (Lorton, Va. / Stone Bridge) finished the game with 280 rushing yards and three touchdowns on just 21 carries. Breece padded his total with a 95-yard touchdown run with 46 seconds remaining. The run set a school record for the longest rush breaking the mark of 94 yards set by Chris Sullivan '02 during the 1999 campaign. He now has a school-record 1,656 yards and 18 touchdowns for the year.
W&L jumped out to a 20-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Breece scored on a 42-yard touchdown run on the game's opening drive for a 7-0 lead just 3:50 into the contest. The Generals forced a pair of Shenandoah punts in the first quarter and added to the lead with a 2-yard touchdown run by Breece at the 12:05 mark of the second quarter. W&L forced a 3-and-out on the next Shenandoah series and the Hornets' punt travelled just eight yards setting up W&L at the SU 41-yardline. Junior running back Collin Sherman (Virginia Beach, Va. / Cox) scored on a 5-yard run just six plays later for the 20-0 lead with 7:57 left in the first half. The PAT was no good.
The Hornets (6-4, 3-3) made it 20-7 with a 25-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Hayden Bauserman to senior wide receiver Michael Ashwell at the 4:29 mark, but W&L retaliated just three plays later with a 70-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Drew Richardson (Watkinsville, Ga. / Athens Academy) to senior running back Josh Malm (Scottsville, Va. / Monticello) for a 27-7 lead with 2:55 left in the half.
After the break, the Generals forced a Shenandoah fumble on the opening series and made it a 34-7 game on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Richardson to senior wide receiver Witt Hawkins (Memphis, Tenn. / Memphis University School) with 11:11 left in the third.
Shenandoah sliced it to a 34-20 game on a pair of third quarter scores, but the Generals began to grind away at the clock, eating up 10:19 of game time with a 17-play, 79-yard drive that made it 41-20 with 5:47 remaining. Sherman finished off the possession with a 1-yard touchdown plunge.
The Generals held the Hornets on downs at the 5-yardline with just over one minute remaining and Breece finished things off with the school-record scamper. He finished the game one yard shy of the school record for rushing yards in a game. It was his seventh straight game of 100 yards or more and his second consecutive contest over 200 yards.
Sherman finished the game with 122 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries, his second straight 100-yard effort. Richardson completed all four of his passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns, and he rushed for 51 yards on seven carries. Hawkins caught two passes for 45 yards and a touchdown and Malm added the one 70-yard touchdown catch. Senior linebacker Max Garrett (Fairfield, Conn. / Choate Rosemary Hall) compiled a career-high 18 tackles for the defense.
Shenandoah amassed 408 yards of total offense led by Bauserman, who completed 37-of-48 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. Junior running back Jalen Hudson posted 35 yards and a touchdown on five carries and caught nine passes for 50 yards. Sophomore linebacker T.J. Heflin logged a game-high 20 tackles for the Hornets.
The ODAC title was W&L's seventh overall and gives the Generals an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Blue & White will learn its first round opponent on Sunday evening at 5:30 pm. The selection show will be streamed on NCAA.com.