Behind an efficient offense and a shutdown defense that turned in a pair of scores on the day, the Bridgewater Eagles football team opened the 2013 season in style with a methodical 57-0 shutout victory over St. Vincent on Saturday afternoon at Jopson Field.
Bridgewater's 57-point victory marks the largest margin of victory in a season opener in program history. The Eagles' 57 points also marks the program's highest scoring output in a season opener.
Following a three-and-out from both teams to open the game, Bridgewater used a balanced offensive attack to bull into Bearcats territory before the drive stalled at the St. Vincent 22. Sophomore Chandler DeHaven split the uprights from 39 yards out to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead with 9:35 left on the first quarter clock.
The Bearcats again went three and out on their ensuing possession before the Eagles added seven more points to the scoreboard off of a Willie Logan three-yard quarterback keeper to extend the Bridgewater advantage to 10-0. Logan connected with senior Cassidy Burns on a 40-yard pass to get deep into Bearcats territory before taking the ball in himself three plays later.
After moving the ball inside the Bearcats redzone at the end of the first quarter, the Eagles needed just four plays in the second stanza to push their lead to 17. St. Vincent forced the Eagles into a fourth-and-goal from the one and a half yard line before junior Jacob Wright forced his way across the goal line with 13:09 left in the first half to build the Bridgewater lead to 17-0.
The Bridgewater defense kept the St. Vincent offense from moving into Eagles territory on the next drive before using a short three-play drive to add an insurance score. Following a pair of short carries from Wright, Logan sprinted to the endzone from 34 yards out to put the Eagles out in front 24-0 midway through the second frame.
Both teams traded possessions over the next nine minutes before the Bearcats took over on their own nine with under a minute to play in the first half. St. Vincent moved the ball to its own 35 before Borgen had the ball jarred loose by defensive end Kenneth Szabo. Szabo scooped the ball off of the turf and danced 30 yards to the house to put Bridgewater out in front by a 31-0 tally.
Bridgewater recovered another fumble on the final play of the first half as the Eagles defense helped lead the team to a 31-0 advantage at the intermission.
Out of the halftime break, the Bridgewater defense picked up right where it left off. On the second play of the half, senior linebacker Andrew Palmer stepped in front of an Andy Borgen pass and returned the interception to the Bearcats 25 to give the Eagles good field position to start the second half.
The Eagles wasted little time in cashing in on the turnover as Logan hooked up with senior Shawn Lee on a 25-yard pattern to build the Bridgewater advantage to 38-0.
St. Vincent saw its next drive stall out in Bearcats territory before the Eagles effectively put the nail in the coffin with a five-play, 61-yard scoring drive. Back-to-back Jordan Hartman runs got the Eagles into St. Vincent territory before Logan capped off his day with his second touchdown pass of the afternoon, this time a 42-yard strike to Burns to put the Eagles up by a 45-0 tally with 7:53 left in the third.
After both teams traded possessions, the Bearcats approached midfield before being forced to punt the ball away. The Eagles muffed the ensuing punt and St. Vincent recovered to get deep inside Bridgewater territory. The Bearcats looked to catch the Eagles sleeping on a double reverse, but defensive back Daryus Beale read the play perfectly and jarred the ball loose in the backfield and sprinted 69 yards to the endzone for the second defensive touchdown of the day, extending the Bridgewater lead to 51-0 at the end of the third frame.
St. Vincent held the ball for nearly 11 minutes in the third quarter, but it was Bridgewater tallying 20 points during the frame to run away from the Bearcats.
The Bearcats used a big kick return to get inside the Bridgewater five to open the fourth quarter before the Eagles defense got a big hold on third and goal to force a St. Vincent field goal attempt. Morgan Porter's 21-yard chip shot was blocked by Wright as the Eagles kept the shutout in tact early in the fourth.
Sophomore quarterback Ross Rushing led the Bridgewater offense on a methodical eight play drive early in the fourth quarter to finalize the scoring. Rushing connected on a pair of passes during the drive before Hartman got to the St. Vincent one-yard line on a 46-yard carry to set the Eagles up for the final score of the day. Freshman Warner Hunter, IV stormed in from a yard out to cap off the scoring at a 57-0 Bridgewater advantage which is how things would end.
Wright sprinted for 79 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries to lead a Bridgewater rushing attack that ran for 244 yards on the afternoon. Hartman added 75 yards on nine runs, while Logan chipped in an additional 38 yards and two touchdowns on a trio of carries.
Through the air, Logan was efficient connecting on 10-of-16 passes for 163 yards and two scores. Overall, Logan played a role in four touchdowns and amassed over 200 yards of total offense.
Burns led all receivers with two catches for 82 yards and a score.
Defensively, the Eagles stifled St. Vincent all day long. Palmer led the Eagles with nine tackles including one tackle for a loss. The senior also recorded an interception. Daniel Brent chipped in six tackles and a forced fumble, while Beale led the way with four solo tackles, including one for a loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery for a score. Overall, the Eagles defense limited St. Vincent to just 181 yards on the day and a paltry 2-of-13 performance on third downs. Bridgewater forced four St. Vincent miscues on the day.
St. Vincent was paced on the ground by a 43-yard afternoon from Ryan Crawford.
Borgen was 8-of-13 passing for 63 yards, while Chace Ginyard hauled in four passes for a team-high 38 yards.
Defensively, Nick Revis led the way with eight tackles.
The win was Bridgewater's eighth straight to open a season and marks the first victory for the Eagles on the turf field of the newly renovated Jopson Athletic Complex.
Bridgewater is back in action on Saturday when it travels to Greensboro for a showdown with the Pride. Kick off from Grimsley High School is set for 1 p.m.