Bridgewater football tops Apprentice, 32-16
Senior Darrick Gore returned an interception 20 yards for a score and the defensive unit accounted for two scores on the day as the Bridgewater Eagles football team overcame a rocky offensive performance in a 32-16 victory at Apprentice on Saturday afternoon.
The win for Bridgewater is the team’s 16th over Apprentice in 30 games against the Builders in a series history that dates back to 1949.
Bridgewater stormed out of the gate and looked to pull away from the Builders early in the contest. After forcing a quick Apprentice three-and-out to open the game, senior Jacob Wright sprinted 29 yards off the left side of the line to the endzone and put the Eagles out in front by a 7-0 score.
The Bridgewater defense got in on the scoring next when Lucas Elliott pressured Deon Lavender in the backfield and the senior tackled the Apprentice quarterback fo in the endzone for a safety to extend the lead to 9-0 with11:06 to go in the first frame.
Both teams exchanged the ball over the remainder of the first quarter as the Builders began to find a rhythm on offense and the Eagles offense went backwards after a hot start.
Apprentice (0-4) answered on the ensuing drive. Lavender connected with Trevon Johnson on a 46 yard strike to get the Builders to the one yard line before Brandon Jordan powered in from the one to trim the Bridgewater advantage to 12-7 midway through the second stanza.
Bridgewater approached midfield on the next drive but the drive stalled out, handing the ball back to Apprentice.
The Builders capitalized on the next drive to take their first, and only, lead of the game. Bridgewater’s defense came up with a third down stop and the Builders burned a timeout before electing to go for it on fourth down. Apprentice dialed up a perfectly executed reverse and Tylee Smith ran off the right side of the line for a 32-yard score to put the Builders out in front 14-12.
Following the Apprentice touchdown, the Eagles engineered a quick, four-play drive to regain the lead. JuniorMatthew Pisarcik floated a pass to Cliff Woodard for a 31 yard touchdown strike to put Bridgewater in front, 18-14, at the half. Bridgewater ran just nine plays in the fourth quarter and had the ball for only four minutes but managed to take a four-point lead into the locker room.
The second half started slowly before Bridgewater committed a costly mistake on fourth down. Bridgewater went into punt formation and the ball went over the head of Tyler Dawson and out of the back of the endzone for a safety to trim the lead to 18-16, which is where the score would stand as the game went to the fourth quarter.
Bridgewater’s first drive of the fourth quarter reached midfield before stalling out, giving the Builders the ball back with a chance to gain the lead. Three plays later, Gore stepped in front of a Lavender pass and sprinted 20 yards for the score, extending the lead to nine at a 25-16 tally.
The Eagles later added a 24-yard touchdown strike from Ross Rushing to Cliff Woodard to finalize the scoring at a 32-16 tally, sending the Eagles into conference play next week with a 3-0 record.
Offensively, the Eagles were limited to just 11 yards on the ground. Wright led the way with 30 yards on a dozen carries.
Pisarcik led the quarterbacks with a 9-for-19 effort for 109 yards and a score. Rushing chipped in 100 yards and a touchdown on a 7-for-18 afternoon.
Jeffrey Moore hauled in a team-high four passes for 33 yards while Woodard added three receptions for 60 yards and two scores for the Eagles.
Bridgewater also turned in an exceptional special teams effort with senior Jordan Hartman adding 199 all-purpose yards on the day. Hartman tallied 94 kick return yards and 105 yarads on punt returns to give the offense solid field position all day.
Apprentice was led on the ground by a 53-yard afternoon from Jordan while Joseph Hodge added 52 yards on 18 carries.
Lavender finished the day with a 15-for-23 effort for 136 yards but the freshman was picked off twice.
Johnson hauled in three passes for a game-high 76 yards while Jordan added a team-high four receptions in the loss.
James Fields led the Apprentice defense with eight tackles, including seven solo stops.
Bridgewater returns to action on Saturday night at the Jopson Athletic Complex against Shenandoah. Start time in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) opener for both teams is set for 7 p.m.