Troubled Mount Union quarterback plays
By Greg Gulas
Washington & Lee did something no other team could accomplish this season when the Generals held Mount Union at home to fewer than 300 total offensive yards.
The Generals outgained the Purple Raiders on the ground, 220-196, and even held an edge in time of possession (37:19 to 22:41).
It wasn’t enough. Failing to put the ball in the end zone allowed the Raiders dodged a continuous downpour and challenging winds as they defeated the Generals, 21-0, in Saturday’s Division III first-round action at Mount Union Stadium.
It was a challenging week away from the field for Mount Union as starting quarterback D’Angelo Fulford of Miramar, Fla., was arrested after a traffic stop on Wednesday and it was discovered there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest in his home state on a battery charge.
The alleged incident dates to the summer of 2015 with Fulford set to surrender to authorities in Miramar by Dec. 20, remaining free on $5,000 bond.
A statement released on Friday said, “The University has been made aware of the legal matter involving D’Angelo Fulford, which stems from an alleged incident dating back to the summer of 2015, when he was a high school senior in Miramar, Florida. While this matter makes its way through the legal process, his status as an enrolled student and member of the football team remains unchanged.”
Fulford threw two touchdowns passes and ran for another score while Josh Petruccelli rushed for a team-high 118 yards on 19 carries to pace Mount Union (11-0).
“We faced some adversity this week and due to those circumstances, I was pleased with our quarterback play,” Mount Union head coach Vince Kehres said. “It [the rain] never let up much and some periods were not as bad as others, but the wind was also a factor with the kicking and punting games.
“We had to watch our snaps with those positions,” Kehres said. “Our punting was effective and we made all three extra points, which was big. It’s tough to simulate games like this.”
Gabe Brown forced a fumble on the Generals’ opening drive, Kenny Wilder recovered and nine plays later Fulford capped a nine-play drive when he scored from a yard out for the early 7-0 advantage.
The Raiders increased their lead to 14-0 when Fulford found Braeden Friss from 10 yards out, capping a six-play, 46-yard drive that featured Petruccelli gaining the first 36 yards.
A 14-yard gain by Generals signal caller Drew Richardson at 11:42 of the second quarter finally put W&J (8-3) in Purple Raiders territory, but the drive stalled.
“This was the first time all season we faced the triple option, so we had to prepare for three backs who might get the ball on each play,” linebacker Danny Robinson said.
The constant rain wreaked havoc with both teams in the second frame, neither team able to mount any attack as the Raiders settled for a 14-0 halftime lead.
After a scoreless third period, Fulford found Jared Ruth from 60 yards away. After Alex Louthan’s placement, Mount Union extended their lead to 21-0.
“The weather was a big factor, but our mindset was to not be selfish and do what we need to win,” Ruth said.
Washington & Lee head coach Scott Abell said Mount Union’s speed is very impressive.
“When watching Mount Union on film their team speed jumped out to us. In a weather game like this that’s a big problem to overcome,” Abell said. “The weather limited our speed option and outside option and while we got some first downs and controlled the clock, we just couldn’t finish our drives.”
The shutout was Mount Union’s first in the playoffs since a 67-0 whitewashing of Washington & Jefferson on Nov. 29, 2014.
Mount Union will play Case Western Reserve on Saturday.