Football dominates opponents, runs historic win streak to nine games

A brutal rushing attack, smothering, young defense propel Generals Football to the top of the ODAC


Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info.

Kenta Sayama

Busting out the gates on a nine-game win streak, the Washington and Lee football team is having an historically successful season.

The team is having its best season since the 1960’s, said quarterback Charlie Nelson, ’17.  The Generals attribute the sudden success to experience and confidence.

“There’s definitely a different vibe going into the game. It is mostly due to the experience we’ve got. The comfort and the confidence we have is really helping us support each other during the game,” running back Marshall Hollerith, ’17, said.

Last year, the Generals struggled through a tough season, ending with a 2-8 record. However, Nelson said he thinks that the struggling season prepared the team for a successful season this year.

“Marshall [Hollerith] has been starting from his freshman year and I have been starting all through last year. So now we are finally used to having the whole offensive system down,” Nelson said. “We know our roles a lot better now.”

Experience from the top of the roster to the bottom is resulting in positive effects for the whole team.

“Having one year of experience under our belt, we are able to play well across the board,”  Hollerith said.

Hollerith and Nelson are leading the team’s offense, having gained more than one-third of the team’s total yards this season. Hollerith is the fifth best rusher in the ODAC in terms of yards from scrimmage while Nelson falls a spot behind him on that list.

The strength of this year’s team is not only the strong offense but also the solid defense. The Generals have the top ranked scoring defense in the league, allowing just 20.25 points per game.

“I think our defense this year has been playing fast, physical and sound, and that is what has given success this year on the defensive side of the ball,”  safety Thomas Freeland, ’19, said.

Along with the experienced upperclassmen, the first-year players are helping the team out as well. Both Freeland and offensive lineman Mitch Hornsby, ’19, have been playing as first-year starters.

Freeland was awarded the ODAC defensive Player of the Week after recording thirteen tackles against Hampton-Sydney on Oct. 10.

Freeland also mentioned the importance of the upperclassmen’s experience for his team when he reflected on his first college football season.

“Probably the biggest reason for the team’s success this year is that we have so many returning starters and young players last year that got to receive a lot of playing time,” Freeland said.  “I’m just glad to be out there on the field with all the older guys and having them show me the ropes in my first year.”

The Generals are not only on a winning streak, but they are setting records as well. Their strong running game led to breaking the ODAC record for most rushing yards gained in a game, when they gained 649 yards on the ground against Averett in the season opener. Nelson said that this achievement helped the team gain even more confidence to start the year.

“It’s definitely the best team I have played in. I’ve never played in a team so successful,” Nelson said. “If we can pull off a 10-0 record it will be awesome.”