Catholic Beats Bridgewater 42-19

Eagles Finish Season 4-6

Posted: November 16, 2013

BRIDGEWATER — At the preseason football coaches meeting in early August, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference tabbed Bridgewater College as the third-best team in the league.
BC even got one first-place vote. The Eagles ranked behind only Hampden-Sydney and Randolph-Macon, teams that played for a conference title on Saturday.
As the season unfolded, the Eagles looked less and less like a preseason power and more like the 4-6 (1-6 in the ODAC) team they finished as. BC’s 42-19 loss on Saturday to Catholic means the Eagles finished with a losing record for just the second time since 2000 (4-6 in 2008).
“It’s one of those losses where you want to just apologize to your players and apologize to your fans,” coach Michael Clark said.
The Eagles had defeated the Cardinals 13 straight times dating back to 1999. The winning streak was the last remnant of the BC glory years in the early 2000’s, Clark said.
“I said afterwards, we’re back to square one,” Clark said. “You can argue with the bottom line and where you are in the conference. All the little trinkets that you held onto from your glory years, that’s gone. We’re on the wrong side of the street, there’s no question about that.”
BC finished one game behind Emory & Henry, which lost to Bridgewater, for last place in the conference.
Saturday’s game started bad and got worse for the Eagles. Senior quarterback Willie Logan threw interceptions on BC’s first two possessions and fullback Nick Wimer fumbled on the third drive.
Logan finished the day 14-of-25 passing for 153 yards and two interceptions. The Eagles were winless in Logan’s career when he threw two or more interceptions.
“We never came from behind,” Clark said when asked about BC’s slow starts this season. “We played like a .500 team.”
The Cardinals beat the Eagles with a balanced attack, passing for 237 yards and rushing for 232. Quarterback EJ Montgomery, last week’s ODAC Offensive Player of the Week, went 10-of-15 passing for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Backup QB TJ Tutone also threw a touchdown.
BC trailed 14-3 at the half courtesy of a Chandler DeHaven 36-yard field goal. The floodgates opened in the second half, as Catholic scored 14 points in the third and fourth quarter, which included returning an onside kick for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
The difference between 4-6 and 5-5 had the Eagles beat Catholic? Depends on who you ask.
“I want to win everything I do,” Logan said. “I don’t care if it’s tiddlywinks, I want to beat you. It makes a difference to everybody, our coaching staff, I mean this is their life.”
Before the season, Logan said it was “ODAC title or bust” for the Eagles. Early on, it looked like they were primed for a big season, blowing out non-conference opponents St. Vincent, Greensboro and Ferrum.
But four-straight losses to open conference play changed the script. The Eagles finally broke through against Emory & Henry before losing the last two games at home.
“None of us expected to be in this situation right now,” tailback Jacob Wright said. “It’s kind to back where he started [in 1995]. I don’t want Coach Clark to think like that. If we have to start from scratch and start from the bottom, then so be it. We’re going to work to get back to the top.”
Clark said he will take a day or two off before getting back in the office and reviewing the season. What do the Eagles lose from their 16-man senior class?
The Eagles lose Logan, left tackle Kyle Keister, two receivers and Wimer on offense. On defense, top linebacker Andrew Palmer is the only key loss.
Receiver Cliff Woodard is also returning after being granted an additional year of eligibility.
"What do we need to do to get this changed?” Clark said. “Trust me, I got to ask that. You have to sit back and do some self-scouting, self-study and be willing to make hard decisions.”
Logan went 11-9 over the last two seasons as the starting quarterback.
“For me, I’ll have good memories, but at the same time I’ll have so many regrets about things I wish I would’ve done differently,” he said, noting some close losses in last season’s 7-3 finish.
In many ways it’s back to the drawing board for the Eagles, albeit with a few promising pieces.
“I can’t argue with the math, I’m where I was in 1995 as the last place team in the ODAC,” Clark said. “The trip to the other side of the street isn’t near as far, but it’s going to involve some hard, hard work. The bank has cash in it, but it’s going to have to be developed and it’s going to have to be used properly.”