William and Mary defeats CAA-foe Hampton 20-14 on the road

Senior running back Donavyn Lester evades a defender during the Tribe's 31-30 victory over Rhode Island on Saturday, October 29. SAMUEL LI // THE FLAT HAT

Saturday, Nov. 5, William and Mary football (8-1, 5-1 CAA) defeated Hampton (4-5, 1-5 CAA) 20-14 on the road.

“You are not satisfied because there are some things you could have done better,” said head coach Mike London. “But at the same time you celebrate. You celebrate things because it is part of competition, it is part of recognizing the opportunity to extend your season could be relevant at the end.”

The Tribe started the game on offense. Sophomore quarterback Darius Wilson drove his team down field with three passes over 14 yards apiece. Senior running back Bronson Yoder concluded the drive with a nine-yard touchdown run.

On the ensuing possession, the Tribe held Hampton to just one first down before regaining control of the ball. However, on the first play of the drive, Wilson threw an interception on a long pass intended for senior wide receiver Caylin Newton.

Hampton junior quarterback Malcolm Mays completed a 26-yard pass to senior wide receiver Jadakis Bonds to move the chains past midfield. Several plays later, Mays connected with Bonds for another 18-yard completion. A pass interference penalty on senior cornerback Ryan Poole moved Hampton to the two yard line. On first and goal, Mays rushed up the middle but fumbled the ball. Senior linebacker Kevin Jarrell recovered the ball to regain possession for the Tribe.

Pinned against their own endzone, the Tribe offense struggled to advance the football upfield. Senior kicker Will Whitehurst sent a booming punt 70 yards to start Hampton on their own 10-yard line.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Christopher Zellous broke through the Tribe defense for a 28-yard run to near midfield. A personal foul on the Tribe placed Hampton at the Tribe 18-yard line. Sophomore running back Elijah Burris ran into the endzone on the next play to tie the game at seven apiece.

“Defensively, we came out a little slow,” Poole said. “The game was a little sluggish, [so] we had to adjust and adapt, and we did that.”

The Tribe and Hampton traded three-and-outs on their next possessions. Yoder ignited the Tribe offense with a 22-yard rush across midfield. Wilson completed a 10-yard pass to advance his team into field goal territory. The Tribe failed to convert on third down, prompting London to bring sophomore kicker Ethan Chang on field for a field goal attempt. Chang’s successful conversion from 35 yards out was successful, regaining the lead for the Tribe.

In the final minute of the first half, William and Mary drove downfield hoping to extend their lead. With two seconds left, Chang attempted a 53-yard field goal but missed wide left.

“It took us a while to get going,” London said. “At halftime, they led us in every [statistical] category. When we came out in the second half, we did a much better job executing and got some explosive plays.”

Hampton began the second half with an 11-yard rush by Burris. Nearing midfield, redshirt junior running back Darran Butts fumbled the ball several plays later.

Already starting in good field position, Yoder rushed 32 yards into field goal territory. However, sophomore quarterback Hollis Mathis gave up the second Tribe turnover of the game on a fumble.

The next score of the game came from Hampton. On first and 20 from the William and Mary 23-yard line, Butts redeemed his earlier fumble and rushed the rock into the endzone. Hampton took their first lead of the game, 14-10.

The Tribe offense wasted no time to respond. Beginning the drive at their own 40-yard line, sophomore running back Malachi Imoh rushed for 11 yards to secure a first down over midfield. On the next play, Imoh broke free from the Pirates’ defense and ran all the way to the goal line to retake the lead by three in the closing minute of the third quarter.

On Hampton’s ensuing drive, Zellous completed a 39-yard pass to Bonds to near field goal range. Zealous then rushed for 12 yards to the edge of the redzone. The Tribe defense held the home team short on third down, bringing in the Pirates’ kicker. However, senior kicker Axel Perez missed the 37-yard attempt right.

This drive, senior running back Donavyn Lester put the Tribe offense on his back. Lester rushed for eight yards on the first play, then broke free for a 44-yard gain on the following play. After a personal foul on sophomore wide receiver DreSean Kendrick, the Tribe failed to advance the chains again. Chang converted from 35 yards out to extend the Tribe lead to 20-14.

Neither team scored in the remaining seven minutes.

William and Mary finished the game with 309 total rushing yards and averaged 6.6 yards per attempt. The Tribe finished the game 3-3 on redzone conversions. However, the Tribe’s 20 points on Saturday marks their lowest score of the season.

Following this weekend’s game, Yoder has totaled 853 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Imoh scored his 10th touchdown of the season, the most by a Tribe running back since 2015.

The team is 5-0 on the road this season for the first time in program history.

The Tribe will host Villanova (5-4, 3-3 CAA) on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m.


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