BRIDGEWATER, Va. - The 2013 season will conclude this weekend in the same way every season for the Bridgewater Eagles football team has wrapped up over the last seven years as the Eagles host Catholic in the season finale.
Saturday's contest marks the 23rd meeting between the two squads. The Eagles own the all-time series against the Cardinals with a 16-6 record. Bridgewater has won the last 13 games in the series, including last season's 42-14 victory in the nation's capital.
Last season in Washington, the Eagles forced six Catholic turnovers, while Willie Logan threw for 245 yards and two scores in a big end-of-season victory. The rivalry has seen its share of streaks, as Catholic took the first game in series history in 1950 behind a 32-0 victory. Bridgewater won its first game against the Cardinals in 1979 with a 16-0 win to start a four-game streak against Catholic. The longest winning streak in the series for the Cardinals came on a four-game winning streak which began in 1983 and concluded with three straight wins from 1997-99.
Catholic is fresh off of a victory that saw the Cardinals play the spoiler role against Guilford. Despite trailing as the game headed to the fourth quarter, Catholic scored two touchdowns in the final stanza to upend the Quakers, 38-29, ending Guilford's Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championship hopes. Catholic got a five-touchdown day from quarterback E.J. Montgomery as the Cardinals topped Guilford at home. Montgomery threw for four touchdowns and 180 yards, while also leading the Cardinals with 129 yards rushing and another score en route to being named the ODAC Offensive Player of the Week. Running back Mike Pitsenberger added 125 yards on the ground with a pair of touchdowns- one receiving and one rushing. Wide receiver Andrew Ouellette caught a season-high 12 passes for 117 yards and a score.
For the Cardinals, the offense remains as balanced as ever as Catholic has thrown for 1,867 yards on the year behind a stellar season from Montgomery. The sophomore splits time behind center with T.J. Tutone and has thrown for 1,060 yards and 12 touchdowns on the year. Tutone adds 780 yards and nine touchdowns to the Catholic offense. The 21 combined touchdowns for the tandem puts Catholic atop the league in passing touchdowns.
On the ground, Pitsenberger ranks third in the league in rushing with 923 yards on the year. The senior also adds five rushing touchdowns to a ground attack that's bulled for 1,891 yards on the season.
Ouellette leads the Cardinals receivers with 57 receptions for 460 yards and four scores. Over the past two weeks, the senior has hauled in 22 passes for 191 yards. Five players are in double digits in receptions for the Cardinals as 16 different players have caught a pass in head coach Dave Dunn's offense.
Defensively, linebacker Conor Stueckler leads the way with 73 total tackles including 7.5 tackles for a loss. Catholic has been exceptionally disruptive along the defensive front, amassing a league-high 22 sacks, including a league-leading seven from junior defensive end Anthony Albanese.
Overall, the Cardinals are very senior laden, with five of the squad's top six receivers being in their fourth-year with the program. The same can be said on the defensive side of the ball.
Bridgewater is coming off of last week's near-miss against the Yellow Jackets of Randolph-Macon and is looking to finish the season with a .500 record and maintain the longest active winning streak against an opponent in the program's annals.
Senior quarterback Willie Logan has been impressive over the last two weeks, tossing five touchdown passes and throwing for over 600 yards while not being intercepted. In last week's loss to the Yellow Jackets, Logan completed his first nine passes of the game.
On the ground, junior Jacob Wright continues to lead the way with 678 yards and eight rushing scores. Logan adds eight more rushing touchdowns to the fold.
A banged up Bridgewater receiving corps enters this afternoon's game with three of its top four receivers being out of the game, or questionable due to injury. Leading receiver Cassidy Burns led the league a week ago with 156 yards on 11 catches and is Bridgewater's leader on the year with 41 grabs for 640 yards and five scores.
Bridgewater's defense is led by linebacker Andrew Palmer. Palmer currently leads the league in total tackles with 93 and ranks 16th on single-season Bridgewater tackles list. Entering this afternoon's game, Palmer's tackle total is the highest for a Bridgewater player since Jermaine Taylor's 148 tackle effort in 2003 and is the most for a player in a non-playoff season since Spencer Nice's 99-tackle performance in 1999. If Palmer can amass seven tackles against the Cardinals, he will become just the 10th player in program history to tally 100-or-more tackles in a season.
Sophomore kicker Chandler DeHaven has turned in quite a season for the Eagles, after knocking in a pair of field goals last weekend to run his season total to 11 made field goals. DeHaven ranks second on the single-season charts with his 11 field goals, just two behind Michael Padgett's 13 field goals during the 1998 season.
Kick off on Saturday afternoon is set for 1 p.m. at the Jopson Athletic Complex. For fans that are unable to attend, the game will be aired live on 95.5 WBOP FM in the Shenandoah Valley with the pregame show starting at 12:30 p.m.