Wasps Down Guilford, 41-32, in ODAC Gridiron Thriller

Greensboro, NC (10/21/00) -- Sophomore quarterback Shannon Johnson (Iron Gate, VA/Alleghany) passed for a career-high 378 yards and a touchdown and ran for two scores as visiting Emory & Henry downed Guilford, 41-32, in a wild Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) football game Saturday.

The teams combined for 1,053 total offensive yards and six scoring plays of 45 or more yards. The Wasps' (6-1, 4-0 ODAC) fourth straight win keeps them perfect in the league and marks their third straight victory over Guilford (1-6, 1-4 ODAC).

The teams traded touchdowns in the final quarter after Johnson's 77-yard scoring pass to senior wideout Nathan Tuck (Big Stone Gap, VA/Powell Valley) broke a 20-20 tie late in the third quarter. Guilford sophomore quarterback David Hessler (Rockville, MD/Walter Johnson) opened the fourth-quarter scoring with a 58-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman James Hereford (Rockingham, NC/Richmond Senior). Junior defensive end Jelani Patterson (Charlotte, NC/South Mecklenberg) blocked the extra point and kept the Wasps ahead, 27-26, with 9:06 left in the game.

Guilford's defense held Emory & Henry on its next possession, but a 57-yard Chris Epperly (Christiansburg, VA/Christiansburg) punt pinned the Quakers on their own five-yard line. Patterson sacked Hessler in the end zone on Guilford's first play after the punt and junior linebacker Nolan Jeffries (Luray, VA/Luray) recovered the loose ball in the end zone for a Wasps' touchdown. Epperly's extra point gave the guests a 34-26 lead with 7:22 left.

The Quakers answered with 10-play, 86-yard scoring drive capped by Hessler's second touchdown pass of the day, an eight-yard toss to sophomore receiver Oren Robinson (Anderson, SC/Westside). Hessler's two-point pass attempt failed and Emory & Henry maintained a 34-32 edge with 2:43 left in the game.

The Wasps ran out the clock for the rest of the game behind the running of junior Ernest Cheatham (Richmond, VA/Lee-Davis) and senior David Scammell (Vansant, VA/Grundy). Cheatham cemented the win with 13 seconds left on a five-yard touchdown run.

Cheatham finished with a team-high 109 rushing yards on 21 carries. Johnson, who enjoyed the second-best passing day in Wasps' history, completed 15 of 32 passes for 378 yards, the league's highest passing total this season. He also added 57 yards and two first-half rushing scores. Sophomore Adam Davis (Cedar Bluff, VA/Richlands) made six receptions for a game-high 145 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown catch on the game's opening drive. Tuck, the ODAC's receiving yardage leader, made four catches for 142 yards and a score. Jeffries led the Emory & Henry's tacklers with 12 stops (4 solo).

Guilford used three big running plays to stay in the game early on. Sophomore Brandon Lockhart (Roxboro, NC/Person) scored on a career-long 75-yard run on the Quakers' initial play from scrimmage in the first quarter. He also added a 45-yard scoring jaunt in the second quarter and finished with a career-high 128 rushing yards on only five carries. Rookie running back Marcus Ballard (Burgaw, NC/Pender) added a personal-best 97 yards on 11 carries. His 82-yard touchdown run in the third quarter helped Guilford tie the game at 20-20. Sophomore linebacker Jake Sorg (Andover, NJ/Lenape Valley Regional) made a season-high 13 tackles despite playing with an injured thigh. Rookie cornerback Jerrell Gillard (Anderson, SC/Westside) made a career-high two interceptions.

The Quakers conclude a three-game home stand next week (10/28) with a 1:00 homecoming game against Ferrum. Emory & Henry hosts Catholic next Saturday (10/28) in an important ODAC tilt.