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Washington & Lee Eagles stampede Chargers, 49-0

The Washington & Lee Eagles got off to a slow start Friday in their first-round home playoff game against Middlesex, but hit high gear in the second half and stampeded the Chargers, 49 to 0.

Coach Antron Yates’ W&L team is now 7-4, and travels to Victoria for their second-round 1A-East playoff game Friday against the 9-2 Lunenburg Central Chargers, who defeated Lancaster, 49 to 21, in the first round. “Friday night was a product of a complete team effort. The defense pitched another shut out,” said Coach Yates after his team notched the playoff victory. “Lunenburg Central is a good football team,” Yates said. “We have to go there and play well to win. If we can continue to play the way we have in the past six weeks, we will have a good chance at winning.”

In Friday’s contest, W&L held a 7 to 0 lead at the end of the first quarter after a short pass from junior quarterback Treshaun Brown to sophomore wide receiver Jarret Sumiel. Senior Alex Lane, the Eagles’ steady kicker, added the point after. W&L added two more scores in the second quarter with a five-yard run by sophomore running back D.J. Weldon and a 47-yard pass play from Brown to Sumiel. Lane, who was 7 for 7 in the game, added both points after, and the Eagles took a 21 to zip halftime lead.

“We were slow out of the gates, but we started hitting on all cylinders in the second half,” said W&L Athletic Director Malcolm Lewis. One of the reasons the Eagles pulled away in the second half was the stout play of their defense, led by outstanding senior linebacker Kaleel Pratt.

“The defense pitched another shutout,” Yates said. “Kaleel Pratt now has 19 sacks. He is playing great football.” Friday, Pratt was constantly in the Middlesex backfield pressuring Charger quarterback Marquez Holmes and sacking Holmes twice.

“Pratt is a ‘motor’ type kid,” said Lewis. “You don’t have to try to teach him a whole lot of technique and responsibility . . . but if you put him somewhere and say ‘GO’, he’s as good as any defender in the league.”
In the third quarter, W&L added two scores behind Brown’s passing. The quarterback hit Weldon on a 27-yard pass play and then senior wide receiver Davon Hamilton on a one-yard score. Lane added the points after.

In the fourth, the points continued, even though Coach Yates began substituting frequently. Senior running back Steven Wilson powered over for a six-yard TD, and junior quarterback Chris Graham scampered for an 18-yard score, with Lane adding the extra points.

Leading 49 to 0 in the final quarter, Coach Yates instructed Graham to kneel down to end the game, even though the Eagles were at the Middlesex eight-yard line with 1:36 to play, and probably could have run up the score.

Despite the great play from Coach Edgar Carey’s defense, another factor in the Eagles’ win was a first-half injury to Chargers quarterback Holmes. “A huge key to the game was that Holmes went down early with a leg injury,” said Lewis. “He’s a game-changer, and it made Middlesex somewhat non-dimensional.”
Middlesex, with a 7-3 record coming into the game, was hoping for its first playoff victory since the 1994 state semi-finals. However, despite their seven wins, the Chargers have not beaten a team with a winning record this year.

By Richard Leggitt

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