BUENA VISTA, Va. — The Southern Virginia University football team won its season finale on senior day with a dominant 40-7 victory over the Apprentice School Saturday afternoon at Knight Stadium.
The Knights (4-6, 2-6 ODAC) racked up 350 yards of offense, the seventh game of the season where the team has gone for 300 yards or more. Southern Virginia did most of its damage on the ground as they gained nearly 300 rushing yards while adding 66 yards through the air.
Today's win becomes the most wins for the program since joining Division III.
"We are happy to see the progress of the program this year, and we are always happy to end the season with a win," said Mulitalo. "As a coaching staff, we are pleased to see the success of our seniors who have been here in the last four seasons."
Akiva Wedge shined for the Knight as he earned 223 rushing yards on 23 attempts and scoring a pair of touchdowns. Wedge's 223 rushing yards push him past the 1,000-yard mark for the second consecutive season. He sets a new program record for rushing yards in a season with 1,072 yards breaking his previous rushing record last season of 1,032 yards.
"I am grateful to have had such a strong group of seniors this season," said Mulitalo. "They have helped set the bar for our expectations and what is required to improve as a team. This senior group has set standards, and we are grateful for their examples."
The Southern Virginia defense produced once again, allowing Apprentice (6-3) just 254 total yards, 3.6 yards per play and only 2.7 yards per rush. Senior Joel Bergman was the leading tackler with ten.
Justin Mitchell produced several spectacular plays in the secondary for the Knights collecting two interceptions, returning each back for touchdowns. Michael Benjamin anchored the D-Line with five tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and one sack.
With 3:03 remaining in the first quarter and neither team able to produce a score, Mitchell picked off Apprentice on a pass deep in their territory for a 21-yard touchdown to claim a 7-0 lead.
Minutes later and just into the second quarter, Wedge broke through the line, outrunning the Builders for 47 yards and collecting his first touchdown run of the game to give the Knights the 14-0 lead with 13:19 remaining in half. After unsuccessful drives by both teams, the Knights headed into the half up 14-0.
Southern Virginia found its rhythm on their second possession of the second half after throwing an interception the previous drive. The Knights forced a three-and-out, but an excellent Bulders punt pinned Southern Virginia on their own 1-yard line. Shumway rallied the Knights, driving the team 99 yards on 12 plays, capping off the drive with a run of his own for 30 yards for the score and the 20-0.
The lone score of the game for the Builders came in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter on a 27-yard pass, pulling them to within a pair of touchdowns, 20-7.
The Knights responded on the ensuing drive, Shumway connected to Matthew Johansson on a short fade in the back of the endzone for the score, extending the lead once again to 26-7. The touchdown reception for Johansson is his fifth of the year, a program record in a single-season.
Several drives later, Apprentice started with the ball on their own 14-yard line when Mitchell made his second interception of the game, returning it to the house for a 20-yard pick-six making the lead now 32-6 (following a failed 2-point conversion).
Southern Virginia's last score of the game came with 45 seconds remaining on a 74-yard Wedge rush sealing the game and earning the 40-7 victory.
"We had a changing of the guard this past week," said Mulitalo. "It's exciting to see the young talent we have that will return. These players have had a little taste of success, and we hope next year we can tip the bucket. The young players we have on this team want more and help push our program to new heights this upcoming season."