LEXINGTON — The Washington and Lee football team asserted itself early in Saturday’s game.
And this time, the Generals scored in the second half, too.
W&L scored the first 27 points of the game en route to a 40-29 win over Emory & Henry on Saturday at Wilson Field.
“It was what we’ve been preaching this whole entire week — coming out there and getting on them early,” W&L running back Josh Breece said. “We’ve started out slow in so many different games, so we definitely executed a lot better this game.”
The Generals (4-1, 2-1), who are tied with Hampden-Sydney for second place in the ODAC, led 21-0 after the first quarter and 27-0 early in the second quarter. They never lost their lead.
“We just didn’t show up in the beginning,” Emory & Henry coach Curt Newsome said. “When you dig a hole that big, it’s hard to catch up.”
After being shut out in the second half of their past two games, the Generals scored 10 second-half points Saturday to keep the Wasps at bay.
“We came out there with pride [in the second half],” Breece said. “We were very complacent these last couple weeks.”
Breece, a 2017 second-team Division III All-American, rushed for 163 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries.
“He’s a special guy,” Newsome said.
The Wasps (2-3, 1-2) dropped their third straight game.
After being held to seven points in a Sept. 29 loss to Randolph-Macon, the Generals have bounced back by scoring 30 points in last weekend’s win at Bridgewater and with a 40-point outing Saturday.
They scored on their first series Saturday.
Breece broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and sprinted up the left sideline for a 50-yard run to move the Generals to the E&H 25-yard line. Three plays later, he burst up the middle for a 12-yard run to give the Generals a 7-0 lead with 13:08 left in the first quarter.
Collin Sherman scored on a 13-yard run to extend the lead to 14-0. Alex Wertz, a freshman, scored on a 7-yard run to give W&L a 21-0 cushion late in the first quarter.
W&L finished the game with 373 yards on the ground.
“Our outside game was working. Our inside game was working,” Sherman said. “So whatever they were trying to take away from us, we’d just go to the other one.”
In last weekend’s win at Bridgewater, Patrick Ryan became the first W&L defender to return a fumble for a touchdown in 12 years. On Saturday, the Generals did it again.
This time it was linebacker Will Corry. Wasps quarterback Hunter Taylor fumbled after being sacked by a blitzing Corry. Corry scooped up the ball and scored on a 6-yard return to extend the lead to 27-0 with 12:10 left in the second quarter.
“The way I hit him, I knew the ball could probably come out,” Corry said. “So I kind of got up looking for the ball, and it was right under my feet.
“That’s been a big focus [of the defense] the past two weeks, is trying to get some turnovers and put some points on the board ourselves.”
Corry had seven tackles and two sacks in the game. The junior has 6 1/2 sacks this year, more than any General recorded all of last season.
“He’s kind of a guy that brings a lot of energy to our defense,” W&L coach Garrett LeRose said.
Taylor, who was sacked four times, completed 24 of 30 passes for 294 yards and four TDs. E&H receiver Jesse Santiago had eight catches for 126 yards and three TDs.
The Wasps cut the lead to 30-22 on a Taylor touchdown pass to Santiago in third quarter, but the Generals responded.
On fourth-and-1 at midfield, Breece ran for a 22-yard gain to keep W&L’s drive alive.
Five plays later, reserve QB Trey Laughlin found Montgomery Owen open at about the E&H 10. Owen hauled in Laughlin’s pass and took off for the end zone for a 15-yard TD reception to extend the lead to 37-22 with 1:22 left in the third.
The Wasps cut the lead to 37-29 early in the fourth quarter on another Taylor touchdown pass to Santiago. But the Generals again answered.
On fourth-and-1 from the E&H 28, Breece ran for 2 yards to keep the drive alive. Five plays later, Jarrett Wright kicked a 23-yard field goal to give W&L a 40-29 cushion with 4:28 to go.
The Wasps were held to 62 rushing yards.
Wasps running back Tyree Ward and E&H safety Justin Banks left the game with serious knee injuries.