William and Mary took home the Capital Cup in thrilling fashion after a touchdown pass with two seconds left gave the Tribe (5-6, 3-5 CAA) a 25-23 victory over rival Richmond.
“It’s just an awesome feeling,” senior running back Jonathan Grimes said. “Since I’ve been here, we haven’t won on the last game freshman, sophomore and junior year. But now we’re going out on a win and it’s been a tough season. This is something that the team next year can build off of and it was just a good win for the school and a good win for [head coach Jimmye Laycock].”
The Spiders (3-8, 0-8 CAA) took a 23-19 lead with 4 minutes, 35 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Kendall Gaskins. But led by sophomore quarterback Brent Caprio and Grimes, the College marched down the field starting from its own 26 yard line.
On 4th and goal from the 2 yard line with under six seconds left, Caprio hit junior tight end Nolan Kearney over the middle in the endzone to give the Tribe the lead. Richmond quarterback Aaron Corp’s heave with one second left fell incomplete, and the College secured the win.
“We were in that situation in the last two games and kind of came away empty handed,” Caprio said. “But there’s an old saying, ‘third time’s a charm’ and I guess we really proved that today. Today we had a good mixture of the running pass and keeping the defense on their feet and good clock management at the end, leaving them no time to score.”
On that drive, Grimes, playing for the final time in a Tribe uniform, broke the College’s single-season rushing record, closing the season with 1,431 net yards. The New Jersey native finished the day with 205 yards on 39 carries and a touchdown; he was already the school’s career rushing record-holder with 4,541 yards on the ground.
“At halftime they were trying not to tell me anything but it got out and the whole line kept talking about it and was counting it down,” Grimes said. “But at the same time we were trying to get the win. To get both was just awesome.”
After the game, head coach Jimmye Laycock teared up when asked to put Grimes’ career with the Tribe in perspective.
“We don’t have enough time,” Laycock said. “I would love to, but it wouldn’t do it justice trying to [encapsulate] it here, right now. He has had a fantastic career, and I mean there’s no way to describe it. We’ll miss him.”
Caprio finished the day at 16 of 22 for 146 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also carried the ball eight times for 27 yards.
Defensively, the Tribe held Corp and the venerable Richmond air attack to 202 yards. Corp, a transfer from Southern California, completed 22 of 31 attempts for 196 yards and a touchdown. Star wide receiver Tre Gray still had a good day, though, with 10 catches for 84 yards, but was held without a touchdown.
“We knew when we came into the game that Tre Gray was a leading receiver in the CAA, so we really just wanted to get somebody on him and keep an eye on him at all times,” junior cornerback B.W. Webb said.
“He’s a very good receiver and he makes big plays all the time so we just wanted to make sure that we had a hand on him any time he was on the field.”
Junior linebacker Jabrel Mines led the way for the defense with 11 tackles, one for a loss. The College outgained the Spiders 381 to 282.
The win ends a disappointing season for the Tribe, which entered the year ranked as high as No. 1 in pre-season polls. Neither the College nor Richmond will be heading to the NCAA playoffs.
Despite the less than ideal ending, Laycock put the season in perspective for the College.
“We are really pleased with the way we were able to end the year,” Laycock said. “It’s been awhile since we’ve ended with a win. We’re not in the playoffs, but sometimes that’s the drawback of the playoffs — you might not get a win at the end of the year. But, we were fortunate enough to get a win this year.”