20 years later, Guilford picked first again


Courtesy of Guilford Athletics

The Guilford College Quakers run onfield last season. They charge into this year with high hopes, having outpaced 2014 league champions Hampden-Syndney in a preseason poll.

Lights. Camera. Quakers.

In just one day the Guilford College Quakers take on the Greensboro College Pride under the Saturday night lights.

The 2014 Guilford football team finished the season 8-2, and were named co-conference champions. It was a great season for the 2014 Quakers.

There is a buzz among the Guilford College football community this season. For the first time since 1995, Guilford was picked first in the preseason Old Dominion Athletic Conference poll.

“It feels great for our players and staff who have been here through the process,” said head coach Chris Rusiewicz.  “It’s nice to be respected, but at the same time it’s just an opinion. We have a lot of work to do to prove our reputation.”

In 2014, Guilford College had an explosive offense that finished first in Division III in third-down conversion percentage, 15th in red zone offense and third in passing offense. This was one of the keys to Guilford’s successful season.

With quarterback Matt Pawlowski back for his senior season, Guilford’s offense should not miss a beat. Pawlowski was a 2014 Gagliardi Trophy Finalist, which goes to the best Division III football player in the nation.

“I want to win an outright conference championship,” said Pawlowski. “That is something Guilford College hasn’t accomplished before and I think this team can accomplish that.”

The Guilford run game should be stout in its own right as senior running back Josh Schow and sophomore De’Eric Bell are both back on the Quaker offense. Schow is a two-time, second-team All-ODAC recipient.

Schow currently holds the Guilford rushing touchdown record with 20.   Last season, Bell contributed 473 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

The Quakers defense has five all-conference players returning of their own.

“I believe we’ve finally got the confidence from every position on the field that we have lacked in previous years,” said senior linebacker Daytwyn Rascoe. “Confidence is key and now we have 11 players on the field at all times that truly believe they are the best player to step on the field.

“If that continues we’ll go beyond winning 10 games this year.”

Rascoe was a third-team All-ODAC selection with 65 tackles, one sack and three interceptions. Gibson Ziah was another third-team selection that recorded 29 tackles in his rookie campaign.

Hunter Hoots is another catalyst that helps lead the Quaker defense. Hoots led the team in tackles with 102 while pressuring the quarterback with four and a half sacks. Hoots was a third-team D3football.com All-South selection, and took home first-team All-ODAC honors last season.

“I expect our defense to be the best in the conference, and top 25 in the nation” said Hoots. “I expect to win the conference and make a run in the playoffs”.

Come out and support the Guilford College football team in the season opener on Sept. 5 at 7:00 p.m. as they take on cross-town rival Greensboro College in the annual Gate City Soup Bowl at Jamieson Stadium located at Grimsley High School. Admission to the game is two cans of food.