EMORY, Va. - Despite opening the season with a 1-4 record, the Emory & Henry College Football Team finished the season on high note, winning the final five games of the year to finish 6-4 (4-2 ODAC) with a second-place finish in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. One of the major factors in the run to end the season was the defense's ability to cause turnovers and get into the offensive backfield. In the final five games, the E&H defense forced 16 turnovers and registered 21 sacks. The Wasps led the league in turnovers (24) and sacks (34) for 2016 campaign and saw six players named to All-ODAC teams.
The defensive line was a strong point for Emory & Henry. Sophomore defensive end Da'von Keith (Columbia, S.C.) was named to the All-ODAC First Team and All-Region Third Team after a breakout season. Keith led the ODAC in sacks (12) and tackles for loss (23) with his best game against Bridgewater College earning him ODAC Defensive Player of the Week honors with 14 tackles, six tackles for a loss, and three sacks. The Wasps' defensive tackles, sophomore Kash Jones (Gainesville, Ga.) and Josh Fleenor (Christiansburg, Va.) combined for 109 tackles, eight sacks, and 24 tackles for loss. Senior defensive end Tyler Tune (Rocky Mount, Va.) finished up his college career with a 26-tackle, 2.5-sack, 8.5-tackle for loss season.
The linebacking corps was led by a pair of seniors who were selected to All-ODAC Teams. First-Team honoree, Rhasheen Williams (Charlotte, N.C.), put up 65 tackles, three sacks, and 7.5 tackles for loss for his second-straight all-league recognition. Josh Compton (Richlands, Va.), who was named Third-Team All-ODAC, paced the team in tackles with 69 and picked off a pair of passes to complete his career.
Emory & Henry's defensive backs were led by two-time All-ODAC First Team selection, Tre'von Lightfoot (Big Island, Va.). The senior will leave E&H as one of the most decorated defensive backs in school history. Lightfoot was also a two-time D3football.com All-South Region Third Team honoree, concluding his career with 126 tackles and nine interceptions. Sophomore Eric Johnson (Roanoke, Va.) was also selected to the All-ODAC Second Team with 42 tackles and a team-best four interceptions. Junior Jae Daniels (Salem, Va.), who played at both safety and cornerback, registered 50 tackles on the year and one pick.
The other all-league honoree was freshman punter Garrett Morgan (Mechanicsville, Va.). Morgan was tabbed to the All-ODAC Third Team after averaging 40.2 yards per punt and landing 14 of them inside the opponent's 20-yardline. He also bombed a 76-yarder during the season.
The Emory & Henry defense was a major key to the team's successful second half of the season. The pass defense was the second-best in the ODAC and the Wasps snagged the most interceptions in the conference. In the final two games, the E&H allowed an average of just 263 yards in a pair of key victories. The Wasps will look to continue that trend as they continue their trek to an ODAC title in 2017.