My amazing D3 Football Wrap ended up going pretty long, so one major story I had to cut was BR-35 Guilford’s (8-1, 5-1 ODAC) huge win over BR-64 Hampden-Sydney to keep their playoff hopes alive. According to Guilford’s team’s site, BR-25 Washington and Lee (9-0, 6-0 ODAC) clinched the ODAC title, which means the Quakers must finish strong enough to earn one of six available at-large bids to the 32-team D3 playoffs. They host BR-80 Emory & Henry in the regular-season finale.
Segway to … this week’s Dynamic Duos! There was probably a smoother way to do that, but I digress. Guilford’s win over Hampden-Sydney made me realize how much I’ve ignored Guilford QB Matt Pawlowski and his trusty sidekick Adam Smith. I wrote a piece on Pawlowski earlier this season, but haven’t mentioned them in any of my articles since. I’m sure that’s someone else’s fault.
That ends now! Pawlowski ranks fifth overall in passing yards (2,922) and second in TDs (35). In terms of total offense per game, the senior signal caller is No. 8 in the division, and averages just over 335 yards in each outing. He also ranks fifth in passing efficiency with a 180.8 rating — and has just two interceptions on 191-of-303 passes completed. That’s pretty damned remarkable, especially considering the No. 1 ranked QB in almost every statistical category, Joe Callahan, has thrown seven interceptions.
It helps to have someone like Adam Smith running the field. Like a bass in search of a worm (strange imagery, but go with it), Smith pulls down better than eight catches per contest on average, good for just over 125 yards per game. He’s tied for second in the division in TDs (16) and ranks eighth in total receiving yards (1,130).
Together, this duo rips off yards and touchdowns like a freshwater bass swimming downstream (again with the fish) — i.e., they do it pretty fast, although I’m not quite sure how fast freshwater bass can swim.
A quick Google search prompted this quote from an online forum:
That actually works even better than I expected it to. Moving on!
Just like that, 15 touchdowns to start the season. That streak came to a halt courtesy of Washington and Lee, who defeated Guilford 20-17 in Week 4 — the Quaker’s only loss of the season. Pawlowski finished with 80 passing yards and no scores in — wait for it — one half of play.
That’s right, our 6-foot-2, 205 pound QB from Greensboro, North Carolina left the game with an injury. The team’s offense never clicked against the Generals stout defense, and Guilford received the L. I’m no Nostradamus, but it seems quite clear the outcome might’ve been different had Pawlowski stayed in the game. When he left, the score was tied at 3-3. His backup, Mitch Ferrick, played the second half and completed 13-of-24 passes for 149 yards and two scores … Food for thought.
Anyhow, the loss snapped Pawlowski’s TD streak for one week, but the thrifty QB returned with a vengeance with a stellar 363 yards, four TD performance against BR-137 Shenandoah on Oct. 10.
Then came a 220 yards, one-score outing against BR-146 Bridgewater. Pawlowski sealed the victory with a 19-yard TD pass to Austen Thompson with 2:26 remaining, capping a clock-killing nine play, 59-yard drive that put the Quakers on top 23-13. Bridgewater responded with a score to cut the lead to three, but only 10 seconds remained on the clock. And 10 seconds doesn’t allow much time to do much (I’m redundantly working in redundancies today.)
Pawlowski returned to his multi-TD ways the following week against BR-108 Randolph-Macon, finishing with 251 yards and five more touchdowns.
Yet, he saved his greatest performance of the season (so far) for BR-159 Catholic. How ‘bout these numbers: 611 passing yards, seven touchdowns and one INT on 37-of-63 pass attempts.
Yeah, me too. Guilford led through the duration of the contest, but Catholic wouldn’t go away. They trailed 45-42 with two minutes to go in the fourth quarter when Pawlowski found Smith for what became the game-winning score. It also capped a four play, 29-yard drive that took precious time off the clock. Catholic scored once more, but, like Bridgewater, had no time to make another big play.
Finally, against Hampden-Sydney, Pawlowski put up a cool 391 yards and three touchdowns to give his team a big 33-20 win over its ODAC foe.
Through it all, Smith has served as reliable receiver, notching big games against Greensboro (eight receptions, 158 yards and three TDs), Methodist (six receptions for 111 yards and one score), Averett (11 receptions for 195 yards and three TDs), Shenandoah (10 receptions, 253 yards and three TDs), Randolph-Macon (seven receptions for 79 yards and three TDs), Catholic (12 receptions for 142 yards and three TDs) and Hampden-Sydney (nine receptions for 105 yards).
That’s a lot of stats, for sure, but indicative of the duo’s success on the season. These two are a huge reason Guilford ranks as the No. 8 offense in the league despite featuring a rushing game that ranks 109th overall.
Make no mistake, this is a duo no team wants to face come playoff time.