Fall sports preview: A sneak peek at football

Football team on par to surpass number of wins from last season

The 2015 Generals football team has 75 players on its roster, including 23 first-years. Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info.

The 2015 Generals football team has 75 players on its roster, including 23 first-years. Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info.

Jordan Missal

This year’s Washington and Lee football team has generated a lot of buzz after two big wins over Averett and Sewanee to begin its season. After going 2-8 last season, the Generals have already matched that

win total after just two games. Returning 16 starters from last year’s team, Coach Scott Abell said

that he and his staff have been able to expand the playbook. The team has been led by a strong ground game, which has improved as the team’s young ball-carriers have improved with more experience. Quarterback Charlie Nelson, ‘17, has been excellent controlling the triple option offense: Nelson leads the team with 201 yards on only 22 rushes, along with 5 touchdowns.

Nelson has been helped by a group of stable of running backs, as five RB’s already have over 90 yards on the season. Duncan Maxwell, ‘18, leads the running backs with 184 yards on seven carries. He has the team high yards per attempt at 26.3.

Juniors Marshall Hollerith, Connor Chess, Evan Hinkle and Walker Brand, ‘18, have all had strong starts to their season. The running game was so strong in the team’s 63-35 victory over Averett that they set the ODAC rushing yardage record by rushing for 649 yards.

The impressive running game can also be credited to the excellent play of the offensive line, said Randy Karlson, ‘16, a starting tackle and team captain.

“It has a lot to do with the scheme the coach has put into place and the work of the running backs,” Karlson said.

The team’s defense has also had a great start to the season. Not known for their size, this year’s top defenders have excelled by using their speed and by throwing a variety of different looks at their opponents’ offenses.

Senior linebackers Moody Heard and Christian Cranford bring strong leadership to the defense, and linebacker John Carrick, ‘17, leads the team with 16 tackles.

Jimmy Moynahan, ‘16, who switched over to the defense last season, leads the defense with 1.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. Senior defensive ends Patrick Wright and Tim Joyce have a strong presence on the defensive line, controlling the line of scrimmage.

Joyce said he has noticed quite a few differences between this year’s team and last year’s team.

“The team has been very good because we’ve come together well and had excellent leadership from the captains,” Joyce said.

Karlson also said that this year’s team seems to be particularly cohesive.

“We have great team chemistry and it’s shown through the offseason workouts and a higher level of competition that has continued throughout the season,” he said.

The Generals play The Apprentice School this Friday at home, before opening their ODAC slate against Guilford the following week.