LEXINGTON, Va. – Washington and Lee football scored on offense, defense and special teams to win its fifth straight game, defeating the Newport News Apprentice School by a score of 42-13 on Saturday afternoon at Wilson Field.
The Generals jumped on top early when senior running back Alex Wertz (Sterling, Va. / Dominion) returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, giving W&L a 7-0 just 14 seconds into the game. It was the first return touchdown of his career and the first by a W&L player since the 2011 campaign.
However, nothing would come easy for the Generals for the remainder of the first half and the Builders assumed a 10-7 lead with 11:02 left in the second quarter following a 4-yard touchdown run by first-year running back Keshaun Williams.
W&L responded to the Apprentice touchdown, stringing together a 10-play, 60-yard drive that was finished off by an 8-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Stephen Murrin (Fort Worth, Texas / Fort Worth Country Day) to junior wide receiver Luke Alison (Huntsville, Ala. / Randolph). Neither team could make headway from there and the Blue & White carried a 14-10 lead into the halftime intermission.
Each team punted on its first possession of the penultimate quarter, before the Generals’ defense struck for its first score of the season. NNA sophomore running back Tashaunt Banks fumbled a pitch from the quarterback, recovered it and then had it forced out again by W&L first-year linebacker Uno Christopher (Fredericksburg, Va. / Massaponax). Junior defensive end Jens Ames (Richmond, Va. / St. Christopher’s) picked it up on the NNA 25-yardline and ran it in for a touchdown that made it a 21-10 game with 3:34 left in the third quarter. It was W&L’s first fumble return for a score since 2018.
The Apprentice School took advantage of good field position early in the fourth quarter, cutting it to a 21-13 game with a 28-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Jeremiah Morgan. However, the game turned at that point, with the Generals closing with three straight rushing scores.
Following the Builders’ field goal, W&L produced its most impressive sustained drive of the game, moving 75 yards on 12 plays. Senior running back Josh Breece (Lorton, Va. / Stone Bridge) finished things off with a 2-yard touchdown run that gave the Generals a 28-13 lead with 6:26 left to play.
W&L forced a 3-and-out on the next series and first-year running back Jacob Romero (Fredericksburg, Va. / Massaponax) scored on the first play of the Generals’ possession, galloping 57 yards for a touchdown that made it 35-13 with 5:29 left.
Another 3-and-out by the W&L defense set up a final score with 2:24 left. Wertz ripped off a 41-yard run on the first play of the drive and finished things off three plays later with a 2-yard plunge, making it 42-13.
The Blue & White gained 323 total yards, including 293 on the ground. Romero led the way with 81 yards and a touchdown on five carries, while Breece tallied 70 yards and a score on 15 carries. Wertz finished with 66 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, and Murrin totaled 47 yards on 10 carries. He also completed 4-of-7 passes for 30 yards and a touchdown. Alison added four catches for 30 yards.
The Generals’ defense allowed just 270 total yards led by junior linebacker Alex Andros (Fredericksburg, Va. / Courtland), who accumulated a career-best 12 tackles, one forced fumble and one pass breakup.
The Builders were led by first-year running back Gabe Tejada’s 35 yards on the ground and 50 yards receiving. First-year quarterback Grant Swanger completed 18-of-33 passes for 216 yards and first-year wide receiver Leland Girdy produced 102 yards on four catches. First-year linebacker Denzel Porter notched eight tackles, one sack and one forced fumble.
Washington and Lee now has a bye and will return to action on October 23 when it hosts Bridgewater for a 1:00 pm contest.