WASHINGTON, D.C. â€“ Guilford Collegeâ€™s Jordan Nelson (Hudson, N.C./West Caldwell) set a school record with four interceptions and the Quakersâ€™ defense forced nine turnovers in a 42-21 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) victory at Catholic University Saturday afternoon. Nelsonâ€™s four interceptions tied the ODAC record for thefts in a game.
The defensive effort helped Guilford (3-6, 2-3 ODAC) rally from a 21-10 second-quarter deficit for its second win in as many weeks. The Cardinals dropped to 1-8 (0-5 ODAC) with the loss.
Catholic jumped out to the early lead behind the play of quarterback Dylan Knight, who rushed for 141 yards and a touchdown on nine first-half carries. He also completed eight-of-15 passes for 64 yards and a score, but left the game in the second quarter with an injury and never returned. Knight’s departure sapped the Cardinalsâ€™ offensive momentum and Guilford’s defense took over.
On Catholic’s first series after Knightâ€™s injury, Chris Jessup (Eastover, N.C./Cape Fear) sacked backup quarterback Chris Gazda and forced a fumble, which Guilfordâ€™s Markas Brunson (Columbia, S.C./Rosewood (N.C.)) recovered on the Cardinalsâ€™ 13-yard line. Three plays later, Guilfordâ€™s Billy Watkins (Mebane, N.C./Eastern Alamance) threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams (Mebane, N.C./Orange) to make it a 21-17 game. The Quakersâ€™ Brad Scott (Rocky Mount, N.C./Nash Central) kicked a 30-yard field goal with one second left in the half to trim Catholicâ€™s lead to 21-20 at halftime.
Watkins connected with Justin Parker (Greensboro, N.C./Southern Guilford) from five yards out, capping an 11-play, 61-yard drive that started the third quarter. The Cardinals picked off the two-point conversion pass, but Guilford had its first lead of the game at 26-21.
After the Quakers forced a punt on Catholicâ€™s first second-half possession, the next five Cardinalsâ€™ possessions ended with turnovers, including three of Nelsonâ€™s interceptions. Guilfordâ€™s offense converted two of the miscues into fourth-quarter touchdown runs by Williams and Earl Womble (Siler City, N.C./Jordan-Matthews (Mars Hill)). Catholic managed 87 total offensive yards in the second half.
Williams finished with 94 rushing yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. He also caught six passes for 49 yards and a score. Watkins completed 27-of-44 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran 18 times for 45 yards and a touchdown. Parker made a game-high nine grabs for 78 yards and a score. Linebacker Richie Paul (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot (Quincy)) paced the Quakersâ€™ tacklers with 13 stops. Teammate David LaPlaca (Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury) added two interceptions for Guilford.
Rich Barry had 15 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown for Catholic. Avatus Stone made a game-high 17 tackles and broke up a pass for the Cardinals.
The Quakers close the 2009 season next Saturday at 1:00 p.m. against visiting Emory & Henry College in Guilfordâ€™s Armfield Athletic Center.
Guilford College Athletics