SALEM, Va. The Southern Virginia football team took a third quarter lead against Bridgewater, but could not stop a rally from the Eagles in the fourth quarter, losing 32-23. A Zach Garner to Brick Wilce pass of 23-yards gave the Knights the lead, 23-21 at the 13:21 mark of the fourth quarter. After tying the game up at 7-7 in the first quarter, the Eagles had outscored the Knights 14-3, and went in to halftime up 21-10.
SVU responded to the deficit with an attacking flair, and a Garner-to-Wilce pass of 64-yards got the visitors to within four of BC. Despite the scores through the air, the defense could not find an answer for Bridgewater quarterback Hagan Driskell. Throwing for 227-yards, the Eagles' quarterback hit Tyler Beiler for 39-yards and the winning touchdown with almost 11-minutes left in the game. A field goal with two minutes left in the game iced the win for the Eagles.
Garner had been effective all night in his passing as he threw for 258-yards on 15-of-24 throws, and two touchdowns. Bridgewater started the scoring in the first quarter with a short pass play that finished off a 6-play 22-yard drive. SVU responded immediately with a drive that took less than two minutes, and culminated with Garner's 1-yard touchdown dive.
Bridgewater punched back quickly, ad a 43-yard run gave the Eagles a 14-7 lead. The defenses were looking for stops before the fireworks display got out of hand. Bridgewater dug their heals in first in stopping the Knights, and SVU could not find the score to even up the game. Another running score in the second quarter gave Bridgewater a 14-pont lead, and thing looked grim for SVU.
The defense came up with a stop, after Driskell fumbled, and the ball was recovered by Pres Crawford. The fumble came at the Bridgewater 19-yard line, and SVU was looking to score quickly to get within a touchdown of the D.III school. Bridgewater's defense prevented any movement by the Knights, who had to settle for a 30-yard Tyler Bowen field goal. The game went to the half at 21-10, and with the Knights in striking distance of a win. The second half started with SVU dominance, but the visitors could not get the timely stops to preserve the win.
A thorn in the side of the SVU offense was the inability to get a run game going. Bridgewater again held an opponent to under 100-yards rushing, as they stifled the run offense of the Knights at 48-yards. The Knights found other ways to move the ball, and totaled 306-yards of offense to Bridgewater's 362. Wilce had a standout game, as he hauled in 6-passes for 127-yards, and the two touchdowns.
Even with the SVU defense unable to keep Bridgewater from scoring, the Knights had standouts on the defensive end. Tommy Davidson and Matt Mellor combined for 22-tackles on the night. The duo accounted for roughly a third of the team's tackles against BC. Robert Williams and Josh Hodges had big games in the secondary, as they recorded 6-tackles apiece.
The game was memorable for things other than the loss, as the crowd of 423 helped the Southwest Virginia chapter of Feed America with its ticket income, and program income. The loss to BC drops the Knights to 2-4 on the season. SVU will return to action Oct. 9 when they host Guilford at Parry McCluer High School. The game will be the homecoming game for SVU, and will begin at 1:00 pm.