Gettysburg Bullets edged out by Bridgewater Eagles
By Bethany Holtz, Sports Editor
The Gettysburg football team dusted off their cleats and helmets this past weekend for the first game of the 2014 season in a non-conference match-up against Bridgewater College. This season the Bullets are looking to bring Gettysburg to the front of the Centennial Conference pack with a team of experienced players.
In recent years, Gettysburg has amassed winning records each season. Last season, how- ever, a series of injuries and ill-fated setbacks left the Bullets with a 4-6 overall record. Fortunately, last year’s injuries has helped season this year’s experienced gridiron roster.
This season Gettysburg welcomes back a total of 17 players on both offense and defense from the 2013 team. A sizable number of experienced players from the last few seasons also rejoin last year’s starters.
Senior co-captain Michael Reali offered, “It helps that we have such an experienced team. A lot of upperclassmen come back. It makes my job as a cap- tain pretty easy when you have so many upperclassmen that are leaders themselves.”
The experience clearly showed in Saturday’s game as Gettysburg fought hard against the Bridgewater Eagles. Despite being interrupted by lighting and playing in the scorching heat, the Bullets managed to keep Bridgewater within their sights, coming up just one point short as time ran out, losing 33 – 32.
After winning back-to- back season openers against Misericordia University’s football program, Gettysburg hosted the traditionally tough Bridgewater Eagles out of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference at Shirk Field. Gettysburg and Bridgewater had never played each other and where both looking to start the season on a high note.
In the first quarter of the game game, Bridgewater’s offence took a 10-0 lead on a 23-yard field goal by junior Chandler DeHaven and a six-yard touch- down pass by junior Matthew Pisarcik to sophomore Jeffery Moore. With the help of junior Travis Andrews and senior Nick Ulassin Gettysburg converted the final drive of the period to put the Bullets on the scoreboard, but missed the extra point after bobbling the snap.
Gettysburg came out stronger in the second quarter with scoring drives on both of their final two possessions of the half. Senior quarterback Zach Miller passed to junior Brandon Sparks to close to within 3 points of the Eagles at 16-13 with less than three minutes left in the period. With just minutes before the half, Gettysburg drove 75 yards with Miller completing a 10-yard rush to go into the locker room at half-time up 19-16.
Bridgewater regained the lead in the third quarter when senior Cliff Woodward ended the opening drive with a 37-yard touchdown reception that put Bridgewater ahead with a score of 23-19. Gettysburg answered with junior Dan Ciemniecki, who intercepted a pass at the 49-yard line and sprinted to the end zone to help put the Bullets ahead at 26-23.
At the top of the fourth quarter, Bridgewater began the game’s longest drive with 15 plays in over seven minutes. The Gettysburg defense turned the Eagles away repeatedly, but a 21-yard field goal by Bridgewater eventually tied the game with 7:41 to go on the game clock.
Gettysburg answered to the Eagles spurt of energy with a 30-yard run and then driving in from two yards out to bring the score to 32-26 in the Bullets favor. The extra-point, however, fell short. With three minutes left on the clock, the Bullets looked like they could walk away with the win.
Fortunately for Bridgewater, Pisarcik completed a pass to junior Peter Monteleone to bring the Eagles back into the game on the fourth down. Pisarcik led his team into Bullet’s territory and a few plays later Jayme Perry caught the tying touchdown for the Eagles. Junior Chandler DeHaven sealed the deal for Bridgewater with the point-after kick, bringing the score to 33-32.
Gettysburg attempted a comeback but ran out of time. Bridgewater finished with a 453-407 edge in total offense. The Eagles held an advantage in the air with a 318-203 lead, while the Bullets out-gained the Eagles on the ground 204-135.
Bullet’s Head Coach Barry Streeter reflected on Gettysburg’s performance in the game. “Our game Saturday was a hard fought game against a very good opponent. In a tight game like that we needed to eliminate our mistakes and we made a few that made the difference in the game. I was pleased however that our players showed confidence and poise.”
Head Coach Streeter went on to share, “Our season looks good. The rest of our games are against Centennial Conference opponents and we will be ready to go.”
The Bullet’s open their Centennial Conference campaign at Ursinus College on September 13. Kickoff is 1:00 p.m.