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TD with 32 ticks left lifts Shenandoah to 19-18 win over Bridgewater

Bridgewater AthleticsBridgewater had to get one final stop against a driving Shenandoah for the second time this season, but this time the Hornets got the winning score in a 19-18 victory over BC on Jopson Field.

A Feb. 27 matchup between these teams was decided when the Eagles, clinging to a six-point lead, intercepted the Hornets at the 10-yard line on their final drive.

This time, Shenandoah took the ball with 4:30 remaining and drove 76 yards on 12 plays, finding the end zone with 0:32 left as Brant Butler caught a slant and slipped a tackle to reach the goalline.

Trailing 13-12 with 10 minutes remaining, Demetreus Jalepes took the kickoff 61 yards but then fumbled as he collided into a player while spinning out of a separate tackle. Brett Tharp, who had the clinching INT in the first matchup between these teams. intercepted a pass on the next play.

Chad Jones drew a pass interference in the end zone, and Matt Lawton just got over the line on 4th-and-goal from the 1 with the help of his blockers.

Lawton rushed for two scores and threw for another, gaining 202 yards in the air on 21-of-31 passing. Jones added 9 catches for 110 yards. Tharp had another big day on the other side of the ball with 15 tackles, 1.0 TFLs and the interception, and Isiah Williams picked off two passes deep in Eagle territory.

Shenandoah ran a reverse on the game’s opening kickoff out to near midfield, and then marched off a methodical 13-play drive to take a 7-0 lead.

Bridgewater’s defense kept it a one-score game at the half by forcing two turnovers inside their own 10-yard line.

The Hornets got the ball back and completed a 37-yard deep ball to Nick Rauchwarg into BC territory, before Elijah Rucker recovered a botched handoff at the 7-yard line. Shenandoah tried to run a double-pass with wide receiver Brady Whitlock, but his deep pass was picked off by Williams at the Bridgewater 8-yard line.

That gave Bridgewater some momentum and Jalepes picked up gains of 19 and 17 yards, followed by a tough 14-yard catch along the sideline by Viante Tucker. Ben Burgan intercepted a pass to end BC’s final threat of the first half however.

Penalties hurt the Eagles early in the third quarter. A 24-yard keeper by Lawton was wiped out due to a hold. Shenandoah muffed the punt, which was caught in midair and carried into the end zone by the BC long snapper, Blake Ashley. Ashley’s touchdown did not count on the advance, and the Eagles committed 25 yards of penalties on the same play to back themselves out of scoring range.

BC did finally put together a scoring drive the next time it got the ball. Stephen Kloosterman made a tough catch for eight yards on 3rd-and-8, and on the next play Jalepes bounced out of trouble, tiptoed the sideline and bowled over a linebacker for another 8-yard gain. Lawton scored on a well-designed draw play to make it 7-6 Shenandoah (Bridgewater would suffer a kicker injury on their first PAT attempt and then miss a pair of two-point conversions).

The Eagles took a 12-7 lead after Williams’ second pick of the day. Jones made a great catch at the Shenandoah 12 despite taking a hard shot, and Lawton found Kyle Beck wide open for the touchdown.

Bridgewater falls to 2-2, 1-2 ODAC and will play an ODAC seeding game next weekend to wrap up the 2020-21 season. Shenandoah improves to 1-3, 1-2.

augusta free press
augusta free press