Jackets handled by Washington & Jefferson

Waynesburg finishes season 1-9

Washington & Jefferson came into Saturday afternoon’s football game against Waynesburg University with three conference losses. It had been eight years since that could be said about the Presidents. This allowed many to be optimistic about the Yellow Jackets chances as the opening kickoff approached on Saturday.

That optimism was smothered quickly. The Presidents [7-3, 6-3] unleashed a season’s worth of frustration on the Jackets [1-9, 1-8], who would finish the season with a 1-9 record, following the 50-14 loss.

“You don’t see a lot of the results that we’re having in the record,” Waynesburg coach Chris Smithley said. “The team GPA, the culture, and what we’re doing as a program aren’t seen in a 1-9 record. We see it inside our program.”

Senior receiver Nick Moretti scored the first of two Jacket touchdowns. Unfortunately, that reception came when the Jackets were already down 44-0. Nonetheless, Moretti still had a productive day with nine receptions for 108 yards  in his final colligate game. game 

“It could have been better given the score,” Moretti said. “But it was good to go off on that.”

Moretti was impressed with the defensive play of W&J, who wrapped up the season with a record of 7-3.

“They do a lot of things on defense,” Moretti said. “They try to force mistakes and get turnovers. I think we did a decent job of moving the ball, but we just couldn’t finish some drives.”

Senior running back Chad Walker, who also played his final game with the Jackets, scored the other Waynesburg touchdown. He left the field on Saturday without any regrets.

“I wouldn’t trade experiences like this for anything,” Walker said. “I wouldn’t do it with anybody else. I wouldn’t choose another school over this one.”

The Jackets will lose the services of Walker next season. They’ll rely on players such as freshman Justin Flack, who ran for 90 yards on 20 carries in the game. Smithley was impressed with the development of the team’s rushing attack in the second half of the season, and thinks it helped the offense.

“I think they progressed great,” Smithley said. “Rushing for the amount of yards that we did over the course of the past five weeks was pretty big. We were able to open things up because the run game was better for us. I think we have a lot to build off of on offense with our run game.”

With the season now over, the time for reflection has begun. The third-year coach praised the work that his seniors have put into the program over their time at Waynesburg. 

“Everything that they did in this program in the last four years is really special,” Smithley said. “It’s hard for them to play their last game. It’s just as hard for us to coach them in their last game. We wish them the best and we’ll always be there for them.”

After a fifth straight loss to the Presidents, Walker gave a positive outlook for the Jackets heading into 2020 and beyond.

“Things are [going to] change here,” Walker said. “One day we’re going to be on top, and we’re going to beat them.”