Senior running back Jacob Wright rushed for a career-high four touchdowns while the Eagles defense pitched a first half shutout and forced three turnovers as the Bridgewater Eagles football team rolled past Catholic, 40-13.
The victory caps off a four-game turnaround for the Eagles and sends the team into the postseason on a four-game winning streak.
Bridgewater struck first after defensive lineman Joe Cellini intercepted his first career pass to set the offense up with solid field position. Wright capped off a quick four-play drive with an 11-yard touchdown run to build a 7-0 Eagles lead with 11:54 to go in the first.
The host Cardinals looked to respond immediately. Catholic went on a 14-play drive but came up empty whenLucas Elliott ran quarterback TJ Tutone out of bounds at the Bridgewater 21 to hand the ball back to the offense.
Following the lengthy Catholic drive, Bridgewater punched its way into the endzone for the second straight series. The Eagles went back to the ground and a heavy dose of Wright. The senior finished off a 10-play drive by punching it in with another 11-yard touchdown run to build a 14-0 advantage late in the first.
Catholic again moved deep into Eagles territory prior to the Bridgewater defense coming up with another defensive hold. The Cardinals pushed to the Bridgewater five before using a timeout prior to fourth down. Out of the timeout, Daniel Brent stuffed Matt McMahon behind the line and gave the ball back to the offense. Brent’s stop was one of eight tackles for a loss on the day for the Bridgewater defense.
Bridgewater converted another solid defensive effort into a score. Quarterback Ross Rushing converted three key third downs on the drive, with each conversion coming through the air. The Eagles capped off the drive when Wright stormed in from the eight to extend the Bridgewater lead to 20-0 which is where the score would remain at the intermission.
Out of the halftime break, both offenses went three and out before a Jordan Hartman punt return to the two set the Eagles up for an insurance score. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Hartman punched it in from the two to extend the Bridgewater lead to 26-0 after Bridgewater’s two-point attempt came up short.
The Cardinals responded to the score with a 43-yard strike from Tutone to Tim Murphy, cutting the Bridgewater lead to 26-6.
Bridgewater’s offense remained efficient and responded to the Catholic score with one of its own. The Eagles capped off a 12-play drive with a Rushing to Zane Grudzinski five-yard touchdown pass to run the lead to 33-6 with 3:21 to go in the third frame.
Catholic kept the back-and-forth affair going with a touchdown to open the fourth quarter. Tutone tossed his second touchdown pass of the day, this time a 10-yard connection with Jeremy McGriff as the Cardinals cut the gap to 33-13.
After the Catholic score, Bridgewater put the finishing touches on the win with Wright’s fourth touchdown run of the day. Quarterback Matthew Pisarcik sprinted 26 yards to get into Catholic territory before Wright capped off the day with a 36-yard scoring scamper to finalize the scoring at a 40-13 tally.
Wright’s final touchdown carry pushed the senior over 1,000 yards on the season. The Manassas Park, Virginia native rushed for 141 yards on 25 carries. With his 1,000 yard campaign, Wright became the 13th running back in school history to rush for over 1,000 yards after finishing his season with 1,013 yards. His 17 touchdown carries on the year lead the Old Dominion Athletic Conference and are the most for a Bridgewater running back since Phillip Carter’s 19 touchdowns in 2007. The senior wraps up his career with 2,680 yards which is the most for a Bridgewater running back since Davon Cruz set the school record with 3,986 yards. His 29 touchdown runs rank fifth on the career list and are the most for a Bridgewater running back since Cruz finished his career with 36 in 2001.
Rushing was stellar again on the final day. The junior threw for 158 yards and a score on 14-of-19 passing.
On the receiving end, three players hauled in three catches each. Senior William Hanna led the way with three catches for 52 yards.
Defensively, Darrick Gore led the way with 13 tackles including a half-tackle for a loss. Elliott added in nine tackles and an interception which was his third of the season.
Catholic was led on the ground by a 43 yard afternoon from Matt Perno as the Eagles defense limited the Cardinals to just 97 rushing yards.
Tutone threw for 249 yards and two scores on 26-of-35 passing.
Evan Calvo led the Cardinals with four catches for 43 yards.
Defensively, Catholic was led by 10 tackles from Patrick Thomas.
The Eagles were effective on the day on third down, converting 9-of-13 third downs.
Bridgewater wraps up the season with an 8-2 overall record.