College Football Final – Guilford 45, Averett 35

DANVILLE, Va. – Matt Pawlowski (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford) passed for three scores and ran for another in Guilford College’s 45-35 nonconference football win at Averett University Saturday.

The freshman quarterback threw first-half touchdown passes to Nick Mearite (High Point, N.C./Ragsdale (UNC Pembroke)) of one and 30 yards and connected with Adam Smith (Mocksville, N.C./Davie County) on a 13-yard strike in the third quarter. Pawlowski’s six-yard scamper with 3:07 left in regulation capped the game’s scoring and iced the Quakers’ (1-2) first victory over the Cougars in Danville.

The back-and-forth contest saw the score change hands six times and included three ties. Averett’s Ray Brown forced the game’s final draw with a one-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. The rookie’s first college score was followed by kicker Ryan Ristaino’s two-point rushing conversion, which knotted the game at 35-35.

Guilford answered on its ensuing possession with freshman Tyler Hunt’s (Gibsonville, N.C./Eastern Guilford) 35-yard field goal with 10:12 remaining, the first of his college career. The field goal gave the Quakers a 38-35 lead.

Averett got the ball back and moved past midfield before the Quakers’ defense stiffened and forced a punt with 6:27 left. Three plays later Guilford senior Mike Williams (Mebane, N.C./Orange) ripped off a career-long 79-yard run to the Cougars’ six, which set up Pawlowski’s rumble into the end zone that opened a 10-point Guilford lead.

Williams finished with 151 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. He averaged 11.6 yards per carry, which stands second in school history. Teammate Josh Williams (Durham, N.C./Jordan) added a 31-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, his longest career jaunt, and had 72 rushing yards on 10 carries. Guilford picked up 237 rushing yards, its most since a 2010 win over Catholic University of America.

Pawlowski completed 18-of-28 passes for 239 yards and three touchdowns. He was sacked once and intercepted once. Mearite was his favorite target with eight catches for 125 yards and two scores, all career and game highs. His 30-yard scoring catch capped the game’s opening drive and his one-yard catch on fourth-and-goal early in the second quarter gave Guilford a 20-14 lead. Smith finished with seven catches for 73 yards.

Robert Smith (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds) led Guilford’s tacklers for the third straight week with a game-high 12 stops (4 solo). Reggie Bullard (Roseboro, N.C./Cape Fear) added nine tackles and JerMario Gooch (Raleigh, N.C./Knightdale) finished with eight. Gooch’s interception on the Quakers’ 17-yard line with 1:24 effectively ended the game.

Ke’Von White led the Cougars (0-3) with 119 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Brown added 85 yards and a touchdown on the ground and freshman quarterback Martin Smith completed 12-of-26 passes for 169 and two touchdowns. August Jones made a team-high four catches for 59 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Tyler Robertson and P.J. Thomas both made eight tackles for Averett. Brian Fuquay had six stops and recovered a fumble late in the second quarter that set up a Smith touchdown pass to Wynton Stephens seven seconds before halftime.

Following a bye week, Guilford opens Old Dominion Athletic Conference play Sept. 29 against Washington and Lee University on the Quakers’ Homecoming Weekend. Kickoff at Appenzeller Field at Armfield Athletic Center is 7:00 p.m.