EMORY, Va. – Guilford College earned a share of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) football championship for the first time since 1997 with a Saturday afternoon conference victory over Emory & Henry College, 52-28. The victory caps the Quakers’ (8-2, 5-2 ODAC) best season since the 1997 season, where the Quakers finished 8-2.
The Quakers jumped on the Wasps in the first quarter with a pair of Matt Pawlowski (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford) touchdowns to C.J. Hobbs (Sanford, N.C./West Harnett) and Chad Christopher to claim an early lead, 14-0.
A Tre’von Lightfoot fumble return for a touchdown sparked the Wasps’ rally in the 2nd quarter as Emory & Henry evened the score on a Chris Thompson 28-yard touchdown run before Guilford engineered a 10-play, 72-yard drive culminating in a Josh Schow one-yard touchdown score to reclaim the lead.
After a Tyler Hunt (Gibsonville, N.C./Eastern Guilford) 43-yard field goal to end the second frame, Emory & Henry opened the second half with a 10-play, 80-yard drive to cut the Quaker deficit back to three. The Quaker offense pulled away halfway through the third quarter, outscoring the Wasps 28-7 to conclude the game. De’Eric Bell added a rushing touchdown to cap the Quaker rally, sealing the win.
The Quakers finished the day with 493 yards of total offense, including 389 yards passing from Pawlowski, who finished the afternoon 38-for-48 with 389 yards and five touchdowns. The junior quarterback also added 43 yards rushing on 10 carries. The Quaker offense dominated the time-of-possession battle over Emory & Henry, 42:40 to 17:20. The Quaker offense converted on 11 of their 17 third down situations.
Austen Thompson (Greensboro, N.C./Southern Guilford) caught three Pawlowski touchdown passes, all in the second half, finishing the afternoon with 10 receptions for 71 yards. Hobbs finished with eight catches for a team-leading 108 yards.
The Quaker defense forced three Wasp turnovers and held the Emory & Henry offense to 327 total yards while holding the Wasps to just four third down conversions in 13 tries. Satiir Stevenson finished his Guilford career with nine tackles, leading all Quakers. Jordan Farmer (Advance, N.C./Davie) finished his career with two sacks to lead all defensive players. Chris Ross (Winston-Salem, N.C./Thomasville) and Daytwyn Rascoe each hauled down an interception a piece. Hunter Hoots totaled seven tackles, one sack, and a fumble recovery.
As a result of tiebreakers, Hampden-Sydney College earns the automatic bid from the ODAC to the NCAA Division III Football Championship while the Quakers share the four-way crown with the Tigers, the Wasps, and Bridgewater College, all of whom finished the season with a 5-2 conference record. The Quakers’ share of the crown marks the third honor (1991, 1997) in program history. The win also cements back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since the 2006 and 2007 seasons, where the Quakers finished 6-4 after each year.