By Pat Coleman
BALTIMORE -- Lightning struck twice for the Bridgewater Eagles. In fact, it struck at the end of the third quarter, prompting an hour-long delay.
Trailing 24-10 going back into the locker room, Bridgewater had a lot of problems to fix. They'd thrown two interceptions and fumbled in their own red zone in the third quarter, giving Johns Hopkins excellent field position and two touchdowns.
The final 15 minutes of play were a different story, as the Eagles scored 27 unanswered points to defeat Johns Hopkins 37-24.
"Coach (Mike Clark) told us they gave him the ultimatum," said sophomore free safety Henry Eggleston. It was either wait it out or take the loss and call the game. "We came to play four quarters of football — we're here to fight."
Clark said the fourth-quarter adjustments were fairly cosmetic, so to speak. They took their four game balls into the locker room during the delay and ran a hair dryer over them. "All of a sudden we have something we can grip and throw in the fourth quarter and they don't."
Bridgewater (4-3) tallied 232 of its 420 total yards in that quarter, scoring four touchdowns. They struck early, putting together an 85-yard drive in 1:52 to cut the lead to 24-17 with 13:18 left. Freshman Garry Cook dove over the line from 1 yard out.
Cook, who was the third-string tailback when the season began, found himself in the spotlight, rushing for 132 yards on 17 carries. "I just told myself I was going to do whatever I needed to help the team," said Cook.
Cook rotated in during the rainfall in place of Davon Cruz. "Garry's a freshman and he's really our mudder," said Clark. "He runs so low to the ground. Davon was just slipping and sliding."
After holding the Blue Jays (3-4) to one first down, the Eagles used another eight-play drive to get in the end zone, capped by a 43-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Robert Ziegenfuss on a fake reverse to wide receiver Corey Butts. That tied the game with 7:35 left. Then after holding Hopkins to one first down on its next drive, Bridgewater quarterback Jason Lutz threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Richardson to give the Eagles their first lead of the game.
Hopkins drove to the Bridgewater 15-yard line with under a minute left before their drive stalled with a run for no gain and consecutive incompletions. On fourth-and-10, Wayne Roccia's pass was intercepted by Eggleston and returned 92 yards for the game-clinching touchdown.
"We had a combo set and they had one guy out of the backfield," said Eggleston. "When the quarterback threw I just jumped up on the back of the receiver."
Not bad for a game that could have ended in 45 minutes. "They offered a surrender," Clark told his kids, "but I (said) 'I'll stay until midnight to win this game.' "