Western Carolina rallies late, defeats VMI, 24-20

vmi footballDespite leading twice throughout the game, the Virginia Military Institute football team fell to visiting Western Carolina by a 24-20 score Saturday afternoon at Foster Stadium in Lexington, Virginia.

Down 20-17 with only 2:12 remaining in the game, the Catamounts (7-4, 5-2) used a four-play, 70-yard drive to score on a two-yard run and pull ahead for the final tally with 1:05 left on the clock. The Keydets (2-9, 1-6) employed a furious rally in the final minute to attempt a comeback of their own, but Al Cobb was tackled out of bounds at the WCU seven-yard line as time expired for the Catamounts to leave post victorious.

“I am proud of our football team and the way they fought,” said VMI head coach Scott Wachenheim. “Al Cobb is a competitor and Derrick Ziglar is a competitor. The kids fought their tails off. We have to play smarter football in key situations. Coach Speir is an excellent head coach and they have an excellent football team, and you can’t make the mistakes we did to come out with a win.

“I think the team primed the pump this year. The water we’re trying to reach is down deep, it’s sweet and it’s cool, but it’s been down there for 34 years. We just have to keep pumping and it starts right now.”

Western Carolina running back Detrez Newsome finished the game with 141 yards on 30 carries and a touchdown to lead the Catamount attack while quarterback Troy Mitchell threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.

The Keydets jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead off a Derrick Ziglar three-yard run midway through the first quarter and a Dillon Christopher 25-yard field goal minutes into the second quarter. The advantage lasted until 20 seconds left before the break when WCU cut the lead to 10-7 off a 10-yard touchdown pass to Michael Helms.

Western Carolina then attempted a squib kick following the score, which VMI successfully recovered at midfield and drove 12 yards in 15 seconds to set up a 55-yard field goal attempt by Christopher. The Newport News, Virginia, native split the uprights for the program’s second-longest field goal conversion in school history and put the Keydets up, 13-7, at the half. The distance was also a Foster Stadium record.

Midway through the third quarter, the Catamounts pulled ahead by a point after a 75-yard touchdown pass to Newsome put WCU up 14-13 at the 4:11 mark of the third quarter. The Catamounts would add a field goal at the 9:38 mark of the fourth period to up the advantage to 17-13.

VMI then went on a four-minute drive that went deep into WCU territory, but the Keydets were stopped short at the Catamount five-yardline on fourth down to give the ball back to WCU with 5:59 remaining. After a few plays, VMI’s J.C. Garvin forced and recovered a fumble at the WCU 17-yard line to give the ball back to the Keydets with only 3:22 left.

On the ensuing play, Ziglar took it in for a 17-yard touchdown to put VMI up for a second time, 20-17, with only 3:17 left in regulation.

Unfazed, the Catamounts quickly went down the field starting at their own 30-yard line as Newsome took a rush for 24 yards to midfield and Mitchell connected with Karnorris Benson for a 41-yard reception to the VMI two-yard line. Newsome took it in from there for the game-winning score.

The loss marked the conclusion of the 2015 football season for the Keydets.

augusta free press
augusta free press news

UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Buy here.

AFP Business

As professional consultants, Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including website design, SEO, TV/radio, video work, branding and logos, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation. Augusta Free Press LLC was founded in 2002.

Web Design

Augusta Free Press has designed more than 800 websites for clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia. We take care of all facets of web design – visual design, layout design, content development and SEO. Short on staff? We’ll work with you to update your AFP-designed website in a timely manner or train your staff to make changes.

Marketing/Social Media Management

Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.

Graphic Design

Augusta Free Press will help you take your vision to the next level. From branding and logos to print materials, our team will work with you to develop products to showcase your business. From brochures and rack cards to full-color magazines or print/digital ads, we’ve got you covered.

Event Planning/Fundraising

Augusta Free Press will help you plan the best event for your organization. From an open house or anniversary to a 5K or Pay Per View, we can handle it all. Looking for training for your sales staff? We can help energize your employees or board. Need ideas to raise more money? Let us help you plan a successful event. Want to hold a news conference or need help with a press release? We can do that too.

Click here for more.