BRIDGEWATER, Va. – Despite controlling the clock and taking a 13-7 lead into the locker room, the Bridgewater Eagles football team couldn't hold Randolph-Macon out of the endzone late in the contest as the Eagles fell in a 35-34 heartbreaker on Saturday afternoon at the Jopson Athletic Complex.
The Bridgewater offense got off to a stellar start as junior Jacob Wright capped off a 13-play, 62-yard drive with a three yard touchdown run to put the Eagles out in front by a 7-0 score midway through the first quarter. Bridgewater's game-opening drive chewed seven and a half minutes off of the clock as the Eagles kept the Randolph-Macon defense guessing and converted three third downs and one fourth down en route to taking the early lead.
Following the Bridgewater score, Randolph-Macon moved across midfield on its first drive, but the Yellow Jackets' drive stalled out as they were forced to punt the ball back to the Eagles.
Bridgewater's methodical offense moved back across midfield as the first quarter clock expired, with the Eagles maintaining a 7-0 lead after the opening frame. The Eagles held the ball for over 11 minutes in the first stanza and limited the Yellow Jackets to just six offensive plays.
The Eagles pushed into the Randolph-Macon redzone early in the second frame before the drive stalled out at the Yellow Jackets 13. Sophomore Chandler DeHaven connected on a 30-yard field goal with 11:47 left in the first half to put Bridgewater out in front, 10-0.
Randolph-Macon stayed on the ground on its next series, rushing the ball eight times, including Zac Naccarato's one-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal, as the Yellow Jackets cut the Bridgewater lead to 10-7 with 7:55 to play in the second stanza.
After the Randolph-Macon score, the Eagles drove deep into Yellow Jackets territory before starting down a fourth and one with 3:51 to play in the first half. Wright's fourth-down carry was stopped behind the line of scrimmage to turn the ball over on downs.
Bridgewater's defense forced a quick three-and-out to put the ball back in the hands of the Eagles' offense. Logan hit Cassidy Burns on a 21-yard pattern to the Eagles deep into Randolph-Macon territory. Four plays later, DeHaven punched in his second field goal of the day, this time a 42 yarder to put Bridgewater out in front 13-7 at the intermission.
Randolph-Macon came out of the halftime break and struck first when Will McGhee stormed in from the four to put the Yellow Jackets up 14-13.
Following an exchange from both teams, Bridgewater got back on the board when Wright bolted off of the right side of the line and sprinted 42 yards to the endzone to put the Eagles back in front, 19-14, with 1:57 to play in the third. Logan tried to run in on a two-point conversion attempt, but fumbled on his way in to keep the score at a 19-14 Bridgewater advantage.
In the waning moments of the third, the Eagles forced the Yellow Jackets into punt formation on what appeared to be a three and out. Punter Tracy Murden tossed a 17-yard pass to Matt Williamson to keep the drive going as the contest shifted to the final quarter. Early in the fourth frame, Naccarato stormed in from the seven to put the Yellow Jackets out in front, 22-19.
Bridgewater answered back immediately when a balanced drive was capped off by a Logan to Burns 16-yard connection to put the Eagles up by a 26-22 tally with 6:27 to play.
The see-saw affair continued on the next drive as the Yellow Jackets answered the Bridgewater score with one of their own. Naccarato delivered a 51-yard touchdown pass to Greg Petrohovich on fourth down to put Randolph-Macon back in front by a 28-26 margin after the two-point conversion attempt failed.
Following the Randolph-Macon score, Bridgewater wouldn't go down without a fight. Logan led another balanced drive before hitting Cliff Woodard on a 50-yard pattern as the Eagles regained the lead at a 34-28 tally after Logan's two-point conversion pass with William Hanna hit the mark.
Randolph-Macon hit two big passes to open its next drive before turning to a heavy dose of McGhee to get inside of the Bridgewater 10. After a pass interference call on the Eagles, Naccarato sprinted in from the two to put the Yellow Jackets up 35-34 with 29 ticks to play.
The Eagles wouldn't go away without a fight. Logan hit Woodard to approach midfield before connecting with Kyle Paz to get to the Randolph-Macon 32 as the clock waned towards zero, forcing a field goal attempt from DeHaven. DeHaven's 49-yard attempt had the distance, but sailed wide right as time expired, allowing the Yellow Jackets to escape with a 35-34 win.
Logan finished the day with 337 yards, on 24-of-34 passing. The Luray, Va. native tossed two touchdown passes and wasn't intercepted for the second straight week.
Wright finished the day with 74 yards on 14 carries plus two scores.
Burns was stellar, hauling in 11 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown, while Woodard added four catches of 88 yards and a touchdown.
Linebacker Andrew Palmer racked up a season-high 14 tackles, including a stop behind the line of scrimmage as the Penn Laird, Va. native led the way for the Bridgewater defense.
Naccarato threw for 156 yards on 9-of-13 passing. The Randolph-Macon trigger man threw for a score and added three rushing touchdowns on nine total carries.
McGhee finished the day with 157 yards and a touchdown on 29 total carries.
Petrohovich led the Randolph-Macon receivers with four catches for 93 yards and a score.
Deshaun Rogers tallied a team-high 10 tackles in the win.
Bridgewater outgained Randolph-Macon by a 470-361 margin on the afternoon.
The Eagles wrap up the 2013 season on Saturday at home against Catholic. Start time against the Cardinals is set for 1 p.m.