BRIDGEWATER, Va. -- The #20/21 Bridgewater College football team held a two-score lead late in the third quarter, but #9 Delaware Valley rallied late to eliminate the Eagles 30-22 in NCAA tournament action.
The Bridgewater College football team lost to Delaware Valley, 30-22, in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs Saturday afternoon.
The Aggies turned the tide after halftime in both trenches, holding the Eagles to -10 rushing yards in the second half, while the visitors picked up 127 second half yards on the ground after accumulating just 43 in the opening 30 minutes.
Jarrod Denham had an 87-yard kick return TD and totaled 226 all-purpose yards. Re'Shaun Myers made 14 tackles while Gary Ramey Jr. added eight tackles, a key tackle for loss, an interception and a pass breakup.
A Logan Weis 39-yarder, his second of the period, gave the Eagles a 19-10 lead with 3:43 left in the third quarter.
A missed tackle allowed Mario Nigro to break a 48-yard score in the final minute of the third quarter to make it a one-score game at 19-17. After the next Eagle drive stalled out despite nice toe-tap catches on consecutive plays by Derrick Jenkins and Viante Tucker, the Aggies converted a 4th-and-3 early in the fourth quarter and John Davis made a tough 19-yard grab to put DelVal in the lead.
Ramey Jr.'s tackle for loss on a 3rd-and-1 rush got Bridgewater the ball back with 4:44 left in the game, but Vincent DiLeo returned a fumble for a touchdown to make it 30-19 Aggies.
After Weis made a 32-yard field goal that was negated by a hold, he forced a 42-yarder into the wind that just barely cleared the crossbar. DelVal recovered the onsides kick and picked up a first down to clinch a rematch with Wesley in the second round.
Bridgewater led 13-7 at halftime. The Aggies found their limited success moving the ball in the first half mostly from slants to Davis. He made a tough sliding catch on the game's opening drive after an Isaiah Farmer sack, and then caught a 13-yard slant for the game's opening touchdown.
Denham answered by breaking an 87-yard kickoff return touchdown down the left sideline to tie things up immediately at 7-7.
Myers and Braden Thomson stuffed a 3rd-and-1 for no gain, forcing a DelVal punt and finally allowing Bridgewater to run its first offensive snap with 4:56 left in the opening quarter.
The Eagles made good on the drive, with Jay Scroggins converting a 4th-and-1 and then scoring from one yard out behind right guard after two plays were stuffed inches from the goalline. That made it 13-7 after a two-point conversion was stopped just short of the end zone.
Davis caught two more tough slants on the next Aggies drive. A third slant to Davis in the end zone was just low and ruled imcomplete after a conference by the officials. Delaware Valley went for it on 4th-and-goal and Preston Turner strip-sacked the quarterback.
A Ramey Jr. interception gave Bridgewater the ball with great field position late in the first half but the Eagles missed a 36-yard field goal. Chase Rosenthal picked off a pass to end the final threat of the half.
Bridgewater sees its second close with a 10-1 mark, as the Eagles' school record 14-game winning streak comes to an end. Delaware Valley is also 10-1 on the season.