BRIDGEWATER, Va. – On Saturday afternoon in Washington, D.C., the Bridgewater Eagles football team will look to end the 2012 season on a high note when it travels to Catholic University to do battle with the 3-6 Cardinals.
Bridgewater and Catholic enter the weekend on similar notes with both teams coming off of losses on the road. The Eagles are fresh off of a 38-26 loss at Randolph-Macon as the Yellow Jackets tallied the most points of any opponent against Bridgewater during the 2012 season. Catholic stumbles into Saturday's game on a three-game skid following a 24-10 loss at Guilford.
The Bridgewater defense will again have to switch gears this weekend from a run-oriented Yellow Jackets offense to a pass-intense Cardinals offense.
Last season, quarterback Carlos Gonzalez hit sophomore wide receiver Cliff Woodard on the numbers and Woodard did the rest as the Eagles went 63 yards in 20 seconds to come from behind for a 22-19 victory on Senior Day over the visiting Cardinals in a thriller at Jopson Field. Anthony Carter rushed for 135 yards in his final contest with the Eagles while Greg Cordivari went 38-of-67 for 345 yards and two scores for Catholic. The junior set a new school record with 67 pass attempts.
Catholic will be looking to bookend its conference season with a win after shocking the Division III world with a convincing 41-28 victory over Hampden-Sydney to open the conference calendar. Since their win over the Tigers, Catholic has been limited to 14 points or less in three of their four games, with their lone victory coming by a 34-7 tally over Shenandoah.
Catholic continues to be paced offensively by the performance of Cordivari. The senior's tossed 14 touchdowns on the year, which ranks him in a tie for fourth in the league. Aside from that, Cordivari has also thrown a league-worst 11 interceptions. Last week at Guilford, Cordivari was limited to just 139 yards on 20-of-41 passing. The Downingtown, Pa. native was also picked off twice in the loss.
On the ground, head coach Dave Dunn has worked talented junior Mike Pitsenberger into the offense scheme. Pitsenberger owns nine touchdown runs on the year and has rolled up 541 yards rushing during an up-and-down campaign. The junior ranks third in the league in rushing touchdowns and cracks the top ten in every rushing category.
Senior Alonzo Cooke continues to lead the way for the Cardinals receiving corps. Cooke ranks second in the conference in receiving touchdowns with six, and sits in third place in the league in yards per game with 64.1. In the team's upset victory over Hampden-Sydney, Cooke hauled in a season-high 10 passes for 135 yards and two scores to lead the way for the Catholic offense.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Cardinals have been opportunistic all season long, forcing a league-best 20 turnovers. Catholic is paced defensively by the efforts of junior linebacker Conor Stueckler. Stueckler leads the league in tackles with 104 and also owns an ODAC-best 67 assisted tackles. His 11.6 tackles per game ranks 16th nationally.
Bridgewater quarterback Willie Logan continues to shine during his first complete season engineering the Eagles offense. Last week at Randolph-Macon, Logan racked up a career-high 132 yards on the ground and threw for an additional 244 yards in Bridgewater's loss to the Yellow Jackets. Logan ranks second in the league among rushing quarterbacks with 401 rushing yards on the season. His seven rushing touchdowns ranks him in a tie for fifth in the conference among all rushers.
Sophomore Jacob Wright continues to be plagued by injury but ranks seventh in the league in rushing and leads the way for Bridgewater on the ground. Wright has bulled for 653 yards on the season and three scores. Over the last three weeks, Wright has been accented heavily in the backfield by junior Ryan Green-Ellis. Green-Ellis leads the running backs with four touchdowns on the year.
On the receiving end, the Eagles continue to spread the ball around the field and are led by the efforts of tight end Michael Colee. Colee's hauled in 27 passes for 307 yards and three scores on the year, while junior wide receiver Shawn Lee adds 26 catches for 301 yards and two touchdowns.
Bridgewater's defense is paced by linebacker Andrew Palmer. The junior owns a team-high 73 tackles on the year. On the defensive front, seniors Danny Grogg and Joel Francis will be playing in their final contests after turning in stellar senior seasons. Francis ranks fourth in the league in tackles for loss with 10.5, while Grogg cracks the ODAC top 10 with eight TFLs.
The Eagles lead the all-time series against the Cardinals with a 16-6 record. Bridgewater's longest active winning streak against an ODAC opponent is against the Cardinals as the Eagles ride an 11-game run into Saturday's showdown in the nation's capital. Catholic's last win against the Eagles came in 1999 at Jopson Field as Catholic rolled past Bridgewater by a 35-14 tally.
Catholic's last win over Bridgewater in Washington, D.C was in 1978 by a 14-7 tally.
For fans who are unable to attend Saturday's contest, the game will be aired live on ESPN 1360 in the Shenandoah Valley starting with the pre-game show at 12:30 p.m.