Gennies football shakes off early losses, tied for first in ODAC

If the Generals win their last two games, they could become the first Washington and Lee football team to repeat as ODAC champions

Elly Cosgrove

After an undefeated regular season last year, two early losses could have easily derailed the Washington and Lee football team. Instead, the Generals have reeled out wins in four of their five ODAC games since and are sitting tied for first in conference play.

The team opened the season with losses to Johns Hopkins and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in two of their first three games. However, both of those losses were out of conference and have no impact on the Generals run at a second straight ODAC title.

“The two early losses came at the hands of two good programs and we really felt we should have won at least one of them,” said Coach Scott Abell in an interview via email.

The team, though, stayed strong with what it does best, mainly run the ball, and according to Abell, the key after the early losses was to “stay focused and get prepared for the ODAC.”

“Those two early losses were kind of a wake-up call that each game was going to be a battle and it allowed us to refocus on playing 4 complete quarters of football,” said John Carrick, ‘17.

After having a perfect regular season last year, teams are “gunning” for the Generals this season, said Carrick. The games against Johns Hopkins and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps took the pressure off the Generals early.

“It reminded us to just have fun and not be so concerned about a perfect record,” said Carrick.

Since then, the team has played loose and has worried more about just playing football, while still focusing on battling hard for sixty minutes. The Generals have cruised through the ODAC; defeating Emory & Henry, Catholic, Guilford, and even demolishing rival Hampden-Sydney in a huge 52-7 victory. Abell said with each game, the next becomes “bigger and more important.” He continued on to say that the leadership has done a great job preparing the team for each ODAC contest.

One goal the team has this season is to be ODAC champions for the second year in a row. According to Carrick, this has never been done in W&L history. Although it is still possible, the team’s recent loss to Randolph-Macon College complicates this goal.

The Generals and Randolph-Macon each have one ODAC loss. Randolph-Macon lost to Emory & Henry 27-20 on October 15. As of right now, Randolph-Macon would have the head to head tie- breaker if both teams were to win the rest of their regular season games. In order to repeat as conference champions, the Generals must continue their success in the ODAC with two more wins and Randolph-Macon must lose to either Guilford or Hampden-Sydney. Shenandoah has one ODAC loss as well, but the Generals play them in their season finale, so only one can finish with one loss.

With just two games left, Coach Abell says that he looks forward to seeing the “growth of our overall team depth” with the closing of the regular season. The team has been able to overcome several injuries throughout the season because of young depth.

Carrick is also looking forward to team improvement in the Generals’ last two games. According to Carrick, the team has improved both defensively and offensively over the duration of the season and is excited to see “how much further we can go.”

“We would like to thank our student body and fans for all their support and hope they will continue to come out and the support their Generals,” said Coach Abell.

The next home Generals game is against Shenandoah on Nov. 12 for Senior Night.