BRIDGEWATER, Va. – In the 2012 home opener at Jopson Field, the Bridgewater Eagles (2-0) football team used a stellar special teams performance and an impressive defensive effort to roll past visiting Greensboro College by a 33-7 tally.
Following an exchange from both teams to open play, the Eagles got the football back with excellent field position and 11:46 to play in the opening stanza.
Junior Ryan Green-Ellis capped off a methodical 10-play, 36-yard drive with a three-yard jaunt to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead early.
Both teams traded possessions before the Eagles forced another Greensboro (1-1) three and out with the first quarter clock winding down. Greensboro punter Nick La Toof booted a punt to the Bridgewater 31 where Jordan Hartman busted through the Pride coverage and sprinted 69 yards to the endzone to give Bridgewater a 14-0 lead as the clock expired on the first quarter.
Greensboro responded midway through the second stanza when Eddie West bolted into the endzone from the one to chip the Bridgewater advantage to 14-7 with 7:53 to play in the opening half.
Bridgewater immediately returned the favor with a heavy dose of Jacob Wright as the sophomore carried the ball twice before jaunting 38 yards to pay dirt to put the Eagles back ahead by 14 at a 21-7 margin with under seven to go in the first half.
On their ensuing drive, the Pride looked to keep the score tight when Ryan Throndset connected with Dexter Russell on a 43-yard pattern to move into Bridgewater territory. The Eagles defense was again up to the task though, as a diving Lucas Elliott picked off a Throndset pass in the end zone to thwart the Greensboro drive.
After another exchange, senior Carlos Gonzalez tossed a pass towards the end zone and had the ball picked off inside the Greensboro five.
Throndset completed a short pass to try to gain some real estate, but on the ensuing play, a bad snap from the center went out of the back of the end zone for a safety, putting Bridgewater ahead 23-7 with 37 ticks to play in the first half.
Bridgewater tallied another score after the safety kickoff when junior Nick Wimer stormed in from 31 yards out to put the Eagles up 30-7 as the clock expired on the first half.
Rain put a major damper on the third quarter as both teams battled back and forth in a driving rainstorm, but it was Bridgewater hanging onto a 30-7 lead heading to the fourth quarter.
Greensboro opened the final stanza with a three-and-out before La Toof's punt went off the side of his foot and out of bounds at the Pride 33 to give the Eagles excellent field position.
Bridgewater used a solid mix of pass and run to move the ball to the 19-yard line, setting up a 36-yard field goal attempt from freshman John Griggs. Griggs crushed a low-line drive through the uprights to put the Eagles up by a 33-7 score, which is how things would end.
On the ground, Wright just missed his second-straight, 100-yard outing. The sophomore tailback rushed for 98 yards on 13 carries, with the bulk of the load coming in the first half.
Defensively, linebacker Andrew Palmer paced the way with seven tackles, including four solo stops. Senior Salem Nganga added six tackles and a half-tackle for a loss as the Eagles posted three sacks and nine tackles for a loss on the afternoon. The Eagles held the Pride to just 66 rushing yards on the day to hold their opponent under 100 yards for the second straight week.
Special teams was the highlight of the day as sophomore Jordan Hartman had 149 yards on returns, including a 106-yard effort returning punts.
Greensboro was paced on the ground by West. West rushed for 69 yards on 23 carries and the lone Greensboro score in the loss.
Through the air, Throndset was 15-of-27 for 174 yards and an interception on the day. Russell fell just short of the 100-yard plateau with a game-high eight catches for 99 yards to lead all receivers.
Defensively, the Pride was paced by a 10-tackle outing from Julian Cinotti.
Greensboro held a slight advantage in time of possession on the afternoon and owned a 174-to-111 edge through the air.
Bridgewater outgained Greensboro by a 300-to-240 margin on the offensive side of things, including a 189-to-66 advantage on the ground. The Eagles also were 6-of-16 on third downs and 2-of-3 on fourth down.
The Eagles are idle next week but are back in action on September 22 when Shenandoah comes to town. Kickoff from Jopson Field against the Hornets is set for 1 p.m.