BRIDGEWATER — Deep down, Bridgewater College went into last week’s season opener against Gettysburg fairly confident it was the better team, and backed it up with a 41-10 victory.
Heading into today’s game at Stevenson, the Eagles simply hope they have the better squad, but are expecting a more significant challenge from the Mustangs, who have been to the postseason five consecutive seasons.
“Deep down I knew we were faster than Gettysburg,” BC coach Michael Clark said. “Speed shows and we have to go on the road and play a team that runs just as well as we do. They have speed on both sides of the ball and I think it will be a challenge to keep those guys covered.”
Both teams came into 2019 picked to finish second in their league — Bridgewater in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference and Stevenson in the Mid-Atlantic Conference — and the Mustangs from suburban Baltimore also opened with a dominant victory, traveling to Massachusetts and beating Curry 34-0.
Given the opening performances of both defenses — Gettysburg’s lone touchdown came with two seconds remaining in the game against Bridgewater’s reserves — Clark expects the matchup to come down to which team can limit mistakes.
“I could see it being a game where points are tough to come by,” the 25th-year Eagles coach said. “They are going to be a lot faster than Gettysburg and we are going to be a lot faster than Curry. Both teams are going to face the same challenges and we’re going to have to do it on the road.”
One key to the game could be containing Stevenson quarterback Ryan Sedgwick, a transfer from Division II Frostburg State. Sedgwick completed 12-of-18 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown, but if there was one bright spot for Curry it was sacking him five times.
Bridgewater is coming off a three-sack performance and spent plenty of time pressuring the Bullets in the backfield, but Clark warned that Sedgwick is elusive and can keep plays alive with his feet before finding an open receiver downfield.
That will put extra pressure on the Eagles secondary to hold their coverage, but it is a confident group.
“We watch our film and just play how we practice,” BC cornerback and ODAC Defensive Player of the Week Chase Rosenthal said. “We were all pretty ecstatic about the first win, but we want to make it 2-0. That’s the goal and it’s a real opportunity to prove ourselves and get the job done.”