Senior Cassidy Burns hauled in a career high 11 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown to lead the Bridgewater Eagles football team to a 51-28 victory over Ferrum on a rain-soaked Saturday at the Jopson Athletic Complex.
Aside from the play of Burns, senior quarterback Willie Logan was also exceptional, throwing for a career-high 350 yards on 22-of-36 passing to help move Bridgewater to a 3-0 record on the year and a perfect mark in non-conference play.
The Eagles were a perfect 6-for-6 in red-zone opportunities on the day.
Bridgewater opened the scoring on its first drive of the game when senior fullback Nick Wimer bolted 30 yards to the end zone to cap off a brief five play, 61 yard drive, handing the Eagles a 7-0 lead.
Ferrum picked up a first down on its opening drive before punting the ball back to the Eagles with under nine to play in the first frame.
Following the Panthers punt, the Eagles used a clock-chewing drive to move into Ferrum territory before a Jacob Wright 12-yard carry put Bridgewater out in front by a 14-0 tally with 3:29 to go in the first. Bridgewater's 11-play, 61-yard drive used up five minutes, 25 seconds of the first quarter clock.
Ferrum answered the Bridgewater score in a big way as the Panthers needed just one minute to cut the Bridgewater deficit in half. Quarterback Tim Reynolds busted a 30-yard run to the end zone to trim the Eagles lead to 14-7 with 2:22 to go in the opening stanza.
Logan connected with Burns on a 21-yard pattern on the final play of the first quarter to move the Eagles into Ferrum territory as the clock expired on the first. The Bridgewater drive stalled out on the Ferrum 14, forcing a field goal attempt. Sophomore Chandler DeHaven's 31-yard boot split the uprights to extend the Bridgewater lead to 17-7 with 13:40 left in the first half.
Bridgewater forced a Ferrum three-and-out on the next drive before the Eagles added to their lead with a Wright three-yard touchdown run to blow open a 24-7 advantage midway through the second frame.
A Bridgewater defense that has been opportunistic all season long, forced a Ferrum turnover on the next drive when Anthony Moton, II, intercepted a Tim Reynolds pass and returned it 37 yards to the Panthers nine yard line to give the offense excellent field position.
The Eagles didn't move the football on the next offense drive, but DeHaven drove in a 26 yard field goal to put the Eagles out in front by a 27-7 score with 6:21 showing on the first half clock.
Following the Bridgewater field goal, Ferrum used a methodical drive to inch closer to the Eagles. Running back Tae Gilbert sprinted 22 yards to paydirt, following a pass-interference call in the end zone, to cut the Bridgewater lead to 27-14 which is where it would remain at the half.
Out of the halftime break, Ferrum needed just seven plays to carve the Bridgewater lead to just six at a 27-21 score. Reynolds capped off a 75-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run to bring the Panthers to within six points early in the third quarter.
After the Ferrum touchdown, Bridgewater answered yet again with a score of its own. Bridgewater turned to a heavy dose of Wright on the groundduring its next offensive possession as the Eagles moved into Panthers territory before Wright bolted 28 yards for a score to put Bridgewater up 34-21 with 6:49 remaining in the third.
Both teams traded a pair of lethargic offensive possessions before Ferrum used a quick drive to bridge the gap to 34-28 as the game headed to the fourth quarter. Logan was intercepted to give the Panthers a short field to work with before Reynolds hit Matthew Kennell from 13 yards out to bring Ferrum back to within six.
Bridgewater again moved deep into Ferrum territory on the next possession before the drive stalled out in the Panthers' redzone. An incomplete pass on third and goal set up a DeHaven chip shot field goal from 23 yards out. DeHaven made it 3-for-3 on the day as he converted the 23 yard kick to put the Eagles in front by two scores at a 37-28 tally.
Reynolds was intercepted for the second time of the day on the next drive when Lucas Elliott picked off a pass at the four yard line to set up the next Bridgewater drive. The Eagles marched towards midfield as the clock ticked underneath 10 minutes to play before Logan connected with Burns on a 51-yard pattern to build the Bridgewater lead to 44-28, effectively putting the game out of reach.
Ferrum moved the ball back across midfield on its next possession but a Reynolds pass fell incomplete on fourth down, handing the ball back to the Eagles just on their own side of midfield.
Seven plays later, wide receiver Shawn Lee reached over a defender and snagged a Logan pass out of the air for a 23 yard touchdown reception to put the Eagles up 51-28 which is how the game would end.
Bridgewater controlled the fourth-quarter clock, using up 11:37 of the final quarter of play as the Eagles owned the time of possession battle by a 38:56 to 21:04 margin on the afternoon.
Wright just missed his second straight 100-yard outing with 97 yards on 21 carries. The Manassas, Va. native rushed for a career-high three touchdowns on the day with scoring runs of 3, 12 and 28 yards. Bridgewater amassed 188 rushing yards on the day, to best Ferrum's 143-yard effort on the ground.
Logan turned in a career day, with 350 yards and two touchdowns. The 350-yard afternoon marks the highest passing total for the Eagles since Carlos Gonzalez's record-setting 409-yard effort in 2011 against Randolph-Macon.
Seven different players hauled in a pass on the day, with Burns' 11-catch outing leading the way for the Eagles. Burns' 193-yard effort eclipsed his former career high by nearly 100 yards and marked the first time the Clifton Forge, Va. native surpassed 100 yards receiving in a game. His 193 yard effort is the most for a Bridgewater player since Tyler Beiler's record-setting 218 yard effort against Randolph-Macon in 2010.
Defensively, linebacker Andrew Palmer led the Eagles with eight tackles and a sack. Fellow linebacker Alex Collins was also active, recording two tackles for a loss and six total tackles on the day.
Gilbert just missed the 100-yard barrier with 92 yards on 17 carries to pace the Ferrum ground attack.
Reynolds threw for 166 yards on 11-of-24 passing, but was picked off twice.
Austin Sutherland led the Ferrum defense with a game-high 11 tackles, while Linwood Pickett added eight stops and 3.5 tackles for a loss.
Bridgewater outgained Ferrum, 538-to-309 as the Eagles ran 81 plays on the afternoon. Bridgewater was 7-of-14 on third down while the Bridgewater defense did its job getting off of the field, limiting the Panthers to a 2-of-11 performance on third down.
Bridgewater is idle next week before opening conference play on October 5 at Shenandoah. Kickoff from Shentel Stadium is set for 7 p.m.