Senior Jacob Wright rushed for a one-yard score and the Eagles recovered the onside kick but trailed by seven late in the game. Bridgewater moved inside the Guilford five but the Quakers came up with a fourth-down stop to hold off the Eagles by a 35-28 tally in a thriller at the Armfield Athletic Center.
Guilford (5-1, 2-1 ODAC) jumped out in front of the Eagles on the opening possession of the game. The Quakers marched 79 yards in eight plays as Josh Schow capped off the drive with a four-yard touchdown run to build a 7-0 Guilford lead.
Bridgewater (4-2, 1-2 ODAC) went three-and-out on its first possession and the Quakers answered with a quick score for a 14-0 advantage with 6:10 to play in the first. Schow again capped off an eight-play drive with a touchdown run, this time a one-yard scamper to build a 14 point Guilford advantage.
Both teams exchanged short possessions prior to the Eagles cutting the deficit in half as the clock expired on the first quarter. Junior Matthew Pisarcik delivered a 29-yard touchdown strike to Cliff Woodard on the final play of the first to trim the gap to 14-7. The touchdown reception for Woodard was his seventh of the year.
Guilford answered back on its next offensive possession. The Quakers went on a 14-play drive before quarterback Matt Pawlowski sprinted in from the five to put Guilford back up by 14 points at a 21-7 tally with10:18 to go in the opening half.
After the Guilford score, the remainder of the first half went the way of the Eagles. The back-and-forth affair continued on Bridgewater’s next offensive series. Bridgewater responded with a nine-play sequence as Wright capped off the drive with his first touchdown run of the day, a four-yard jaunt, cutting the gap to 21-14 which is how the score would remain at the intermission.
Bridgewater received the opening kick of the second half, but saw its drive stall out at the Guilford 38, handing the ball back to the Quakers.
The Eagles defense forced a three-and-out to give the ball back to the offense and the Eagles capitalized on good field position. Junior Ross Rushing connected with Woodard to get the Eagles into Quakers territory before turning to a heavy run game to get in the red zone. Three straight Wright carries moved the Eagles inside the five and the senior then bulled in from the four-yard line to tie the game up at 21 each with 5:34showing on the third-quarter clock.
Bridgewater’s defense was up to the task on the next sequence, but this time the Eagles offensive series stalled out at midfield as the game went to the fourth quarter at a 21-21 deadlock.
Guilford moved into Bridgewater territory to start the fourth and Pawlowski hooked up with Hayden Read on a 10-yard pattern to put the Quakers up by a 28-21 score with 12:39 remaining.
The Eagles couldn’t establish much on the offensive side of the ball on the next drive, handing the ball back to Guilford. The Quakers proceeded to embark on a back-breaking 15-play drive which took over six minutes off of the clock. Guilford capped off the drive with a one-yard Schow touchdown run – his third of the day – as the Quakers put Bridgewater in a 35-21 hole with 4:19 to play.
Bridgewater wouldn’t go down without a fight. Rushing marched the Eagles downfield on a two-minute drive and Wright capped off the series with a one-yard touchdown run to cut the gap to 35-28.
On the ensuing kickoff, DeHaven’s onside kick was recovered by the Eagles, setting up the final drive of the game. Bridgewater pushed the ball downfield and moved to the Guilford five on a seven-yard Wright carry to bring up third down. Rushing’s pass to Keith Jennings fell incomplete and Wright’s fourth-down run was stopped up at the line, giving the ball back to Guilford and sending the Eagles home with a 35-28 loss.
Wright was stellar on the day, rushing of 97 yards and a career-high three scores. The Eagles rushed for 179 yards on the afternoon.
Pisarcik and Rushing split duties behind center. Rushing led the way with 116 yards on 11-of-18 passing. Pisarcik chipped in a 9-for-15 effort for 115 yards and a score.
Woodard led the receivers with 73 yards on four receptions and Jeffrey Moore added 66 yards on a game-high six catches.
Defensively, Alex Collins led the way with nine stops. Darrick Gore chipped in eight tackles, including 1 ½ behind the line of scrimmage.
Guilford was led on the ground by Schow’s three-touchdown effort. Pawlowski rushed for a team-high 84 yards on 16 carries as the Quakers outrushed Bridgewater by a 245-179 margin.
Pawlowski was efficient through the air with 168 yards and a score on a 20-for-28 afternoon.
Adam Smith paced the Quakers receivers with four catches for 46 yards.
Hunter Hoots led the Guilford defense with 15 stops, including the game-clinching tackle on the fourth-down stop of Wright late in the game.
In an evenly played contest, Guilford owned a slim 413-410 advantage in total offense.
Bridgewater returns to action on Saturday against Washington and Lee. Saturday’s game also marks Homecoming for the Eagles. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.