Dukes & Eagles making 2019 a fun season for fans in the Valley

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HARRISONBURG, Va. -- The James Madison and Bridgewater football teams are a combined 13-1 overall in 2019 and have combined to win 13 straight games.

The James Madison and Bridgewater football teams are a combined 13-1 overall in 2019.

"Right now (area code) 540 in Harrisonburg might be the mecca of college football in the state," joked Bridgewater head coach Michael Clark.

The only loss between the two teams came in JMU's season opener, a 20-13 road defeat at FBS opponent West Virginia.

James Madison, an NCAA Division I FCS program, has won seven straight games and has been ranked No. 2 in both major FCS national polls throughout the season. Bridgewater, an NCAA Division III program, has not lost in 2019. The Eagles a 6-0 overall and winning, on average, by more than 30 points per game.

"It's just very exciting, an exciting time in the Valley," said JMU senior tight end Dylan Stapleton. "You know, Bridgeforth (Stadium) is always rocking on Saturday's. Obviously, Bridgewater is playing well so it's just an exciting time for our fans. Both JMU and Bridgewater, you know I think the fans are excited."

Both JMU and Bridgewater are legitimate playoff contenders in their respective divisions. The Dukes are considered to be one of the top squads with a chance to win the FCS national title while the Eagles are currently tied with Randolph-Macon atop the ODAC standings.

"To have two great football programs, or two teams that are doing well right now in the area is great for the fans," said JMU head coach Curt Cignetti. "Great fan support at both places and we better not schedule them I guess."

JMU hosts No. 16 Towson Saturday at Bridgeforth Stadium for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff while Bridgewater hits the road to play at Washington & Lee Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.