College Football Final – Emory & Henry 70, Guilford 27

EMORY, Va. – Sophomore quarterback Hunter Taylor passed for six touchdowns and ran for two more in Emory & Henry College’s 70-27 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) football win over visiting Guilford College Saturday. The Wasps’ (4-5, 3-4 ODAC) recovered five Guilford (3-6, 2-5 ODAC) turnovers leading to 28 points in the season finale for both teams.

The game marked the final college contest for Guilford redshirt-senior running back De’Eric Bell (Jackson, Ga./Jackson). Bell ran for 214 yards and three touchdowns on the way to 370 all-purpose yards, third-most in school history. He added to his collection of school records by finishing the year with 1,334 rushing yards to break the former mark of 1,231 yards set by Reggie Kenan ’77 in 1975.

Bell’s 58-yard touchdown run off left tackle on Guilford’s first offensive possession opened the game’s scoring. The Quakers nearly doubled their lead later in the first quarter but Emory & Henry’s Staymon Johnson stepped in front of an Alex Manley pass on the Wasps’ goal line and returned the interception 60 yards. The Quakers got the ball back two plays later on Gerard Seals’ interception of a deflected Taylor pass, but Johnson’s pick stopped a Guilford scoring chance and sparked the home team.

The Wasps rode the momentum into the second quarter and scored three touchdowns in six minutes, twice aided by Guilford turnovers. After Taylor’s 11-yard run tied the score early in the second quarter, Justin Banks recovered a Quakers’ fumble on Guilford’s 18. On the next play, Sam Wagner bulled his way into the end zone to put the Wasps ahead, 14-7. Tyler Redmond’s diving interception on his own eight-yard line set up an eight-play, 92-yard drive capped by Taylor’s 31-yard scoring strike to Derrick Yates. Matt Seals’ point-after kick gave Emory & Henry a 21-7 edge seven minutes before halftime.

The Quakers pulled to within 21-13 at halftime as Manley ran an effective two-minute drill. His 56-yard catch and run to tight end Evan Carnes set up his five-yard touchdown pass to Carnes with 14 seconds left in the second quarter.

Emory & Henry scored touchdowns on seven-of-eight second-half possessions, including its last five. Taylor threw three scores to Jesse Santiago, including a 28-yard play set up by the second of Guilford’s three fumbles.

Bell answered 96 seconds later with an eight-yard touchdown run, which made it a 35-20 game midway through the third quarter. Guilford’s defense came up with a stop on the Wasps’ next possession and crossed into Emory & Henry territory when Dalton Wilson jarred the ball loose from Guilford’s Juwan Houston after a 20-yard, first-down reception. Wilson recovered the fumble and three plays later, Taylor hit tight end Bradley Puccio from 33 yards out for a 42-20 Wasps’ advantage.

Taylor threw touchdowns of 27 and 41 yards to Santiago on successive fourth-quarter possessions to open a 63-20 lead. Senior Joe Ferrick replaced Manley under center and led the Quakers on their final scoring drive, capped by Bell’s two-yard run, his school-record 21st of the season.

Taylor completed 17-of-28 passes for 359 yards, one interception, and six touchdowns. He also ran for 57 yards and two touchdowns. Santiago finished with a game-high eight catches for 171 yards and three scores. Wagner finished with 77 rushing yards and a touchdown. Defensive back Justin Banks made 20 tackles (10 solo) for Emory & Henry.

Bell’s 214 rushing yards represent his fourth 200-yard rushing game and the 11th-highest single-game total in school history. He concludes his career with a school-record 4,213 rushing yards and 53 touchdowns in 43 games. His school- and ODAC-record 8,396 career all-purpose yards rank fifth in NCAA Division III history.