Despite a 200-plus yard effort on the ground, including a 122-yard outing from junior Jacob Wright, the Bridgewater Eagles couldn’t overcome an efficient Guilford College attack in a 21-14 loss to the Quakers on Homecoming Saturday at the Jopson Athletic Complex.
The loss was Bridgewater’s third straight in league play, while the Quakers remain as one of three Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) teams without a loss.
Following a slow start to the contest from both teams, Guilford (4-2, 3-0 ODAC) took the lead late in the first quarter when quarterback Matt Pawlowski hit Josh Williams on a two-yard, pitch-and-catch to put the Quakers out in front, 7-0. Pawlowski’s connection capped off a nine-play, 67-yard drive for the Quakers.
Bridgewater (3-3, 0-3 ODAC) moved across midfield as the first quarter clock expired as the Eagles looked to get on the board following the Guilford score. The Eagles marched to the Guilford 22 before Willie Logan‘s pass to Jeffrey Moore fell incomplete bringing up fourth down. Sophomore Chandler DeHaven was brought on to attempt a 39-yard field goal. DeHaven’s kick had the distance, but hit the left upright to keep the Quakers in front, 7-0.
Guilford used another nine-play drive to extend its lead to 14-0 following the missed field goal. Pawlowski hit Hayden Read on an 18-yard pattern, but linebacker Andrew Palmer jarred the ball loose at the one. The ball went out of bounds just shy of the goal line before Josh Schow plowed in from the one to build a 14-0 Quakers lead.
The Eagles answered the Guilford score with one of their own despite the ensuing drive being opening by a pair of Bridgewater penalties which backed the Eagles up inside of their own 10. Logan got the Eagles across midfield on a nine-yard run before a 20-yard carry from Wright got the Eagles inside the redzone to the Guilford 10. Two plays later, Logan vaulted into the endzone on a 10-yard keeper to trim the Guilford lead to 14-7 which is how the game would remain at the intermission.
Out of the halftime break, the Eagles defense forced a Guilford three-and-out and the Eagles drove deep into Guilford territory before a Logan pass was intercepted by JerMario Gooch at the Quakers’ 6 to hold the Eagles off of the scoreboard and keep the lead at a 14-7 Guilford advantage.
Guilford looked to immediately respond when Pawlowski hit Chad Christopher for what looked like a 30-yard touchdown strike, but Christopher was ruled out of the play after stepping out of bounds and the Quakers couldn’t convert a fourth-down attempt as they handed the ball back to Bridgewater.
Following a Bridgewater three-and-out, Guilford capitalized on excellent field position to build a 21-7 lead. A Bridgewater personal foul penalty got the Quakers inside the Bridgewater red zone before Pawlowski hit Read from 13 yards out to extend the Guilford advantage to 21-7 with 3:22 left in the third.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Eagles went to the air with Logan completing five consecutive passes and rushing for 28 yards before hitting Moore on an 18-yard slant to cut the Guilford lead to 21-14. Logan was 5-for-6 through the air on the drive.
After the Bridgewater score, the Quakers converted three key third downs and wound off the final six-plus minutes of the clock to escape with a 21-14 victory over the Eagles.
Wright led the Bridgewater rushing attack with 122 yards on 23 carries. Logan added nine carries for 73 yards and a score to aid the Eagles’ ground game to 204 yards on 35 runs.
Logan struggled on the day through the air going 14-of-32 for 158 yards and a score. The Luray, Va. native also threw an interception for the fourth consecutive week.
Moore hauled in a game-high five catches for 76 yards and a touchdown to lead all receivers.
Defensively, Palmer posted a team-high 11 tackles, including one tackle behind the line of scrimmage. The Penn Laird, Va. native also forced a Guilford fumble.
Schow led the Guilford offense with 114 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.
Pawlowski was efficient through the air, completing 16 of 24 passes for 180 yards and two scores.
Adam Smith and Nick Mearite led the Guilford receivers with four catches each, while Smith led the way with 54 yards receiving.
Satiir Stevenson amassed 11 tackles on the afternoon to lead the Guilford defense.
The Eagles outgained Guilford by a slim 362-to-360 margin.
The Quakers limited Bridgewater to a 5-for-13 effort on third down, while the Bridgewater defense couldn’t get off of the field enough as the Quakers converted 9-of-15 third down attempts.
Bridgewater is back in action on Saturday at Washington and Lee. Start time against the Generals is set for 1:30 p.m.