Season Review: Bell's Accolades Highlighted 2018 Quaker Football Season

Alex Manley '21, De'Erics Bell '18 (Photo by Brian Bishop, D3photo.com)
Alex Manley '21, De'Erics Bell '18 (Photo by Brian Bishop, D3photo.com)

There were many team and individual highlights for the Guilford College football team in the 2018 season. The Quakers finished with a 3-6 record and went 2-5 in Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) action. 

The season got off to an interesting start when Huntingdon visited on Sept. 5. The game was declared a "no contest" caused by a lengthy weather delay. Per NCAA statistics policy, all statistics from a no contest are voided.

The Quakers got an impressive 61-35 win versus Methodist the next week. Senior De'Eric Bell rushed for 225 yards and a school-record five touchdowns in the win over the Monarchs. 

Guilford secured win number two on Oct. 12 vs. Ferrum. Alex Manley's 65-yard touchdown pass to Montek Johnson broke a 21-21 tie and lifted Guilford College to a 28-27 ODAC win over the visiting Panthers. 

The third win of the year occurred over visiting Washington and Lee on Oct. 27. Bell rushed for 122 yards and three touchdowns in Guilford's  40-3 ODAC triumph over the Generals. The result marked Guilford's fewest points allowed in a game since 2016 and the fewest given up to the Generals since a 28-0 shutout in 1968.  

Following the season, the conference football coaches selected eight members of Guilford College's football team as All-ODAC selections. Bell, redshirt-sophomore Bryce Smith, and junior Jarrod Russ were first-team honorees. Junior Jeremiah Hedrick and senior Matt Ingram garnered second-team laurels. Juniors Juwan HoustonJ.T. Carmichael, and Emory Lyndon received Third-Team All-ODAC recognition.

The honors continued to pour in for the Quakers. Smith and Bell represented the Quakers on 2018 D3football.com All-South Region teams. Bell received first-team honors, while Smith captured third-team recognition.

Bell then earned First Team NCAA Division III All-America honors from the American Football Coaches' Association (AFCA) for the second straight season Monday. Bell, the team's all-purpose back, became Guilford's first football player named an All-American in three different seasons (2015, 2017, and 2018). He later earned third-team recognition on the 2018 D3football.com All-America Team. Bell is the first Quakers' running back so honored since Reggie Kenan '77 in 1976. 

The 5-7, 195-pound Bell enjoyed the finest season by a Guilford running back in school history. Bell set school season standards for rushing yards (1,334), rushing touchdowns (21), 100-yard rushing games (7), and 200-yard rushing games (2) in a season. He shattered all of Guilford's career rushing, scoring (384 points), touchdowns (63), kickoff return (2,342 yards), and all-purpose yardage (8,396 yards) records this fall. His 4,213 career rushing yards broke Kenan's former mark (3,486) that stood since 1976. Bell set the ODAC's career kickoff-return yards record and concluded his career ranked second among the ODAC's career rushing, scoring and touchdowns leaders. His league-best 8,396 career all-purpose yards stand fifth in NCAA Division III history.

Coach Chris Rusiewicz's Quakers posted a 3-6 overall record and went 2-5 in the ODAC. Guilford could return as many as 62 letter winners next fall, including 16 starters.