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Indians Host Mohigans

By Jeff Toquinto, 09/06/19, 10:00AM EDT

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During Bridgeport’s two scrimmages contests against Parkersburg and Parkersburg South, Coach John Cole didn’t like what he saw when those squads went and tested the Indians’ secondary with a passing attack. In last week’s season-opening win against Lewis County, the Minutemen rarely threw the ball at all.

That won’t be the case this week with the Tribe’s foe.

BHS will open the home portion of the regular season this evening when it battles a program with a championship pedigree like its own in Morgantown. The contest is just the fourth matchup between the two programs in history.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

Morgantown leads the all-time series by a 2-1 score. The Mohigans last win came in 1983 by a 14-2 score, while the Indians won the last game that was played – in 1984 – by a 21-0 count in what was Cole’s senior season with the team.

“I actually don’t remember it,” said Cole. “I just know they’re one of the premier programs in the state.”

Last week, while Bridgeport was rolling past Lewis County by a 28-0 score the Mohigans were facing off against another storied program on the road against Parkersburg. MHS put themselves in a 27-7 hole before watching a comeback fall short by a 27-21 score.

“They had some turnovers, but this is still a dangerous team that can do a lot of things,” said Cole. “They’ve got more than one speed guy.

They’ve also got more than one quarterback. The junior tandem of Cam Rice and Gunner Latimore both got snaps against the Big Reds. Rice went 6-for-12 with two interceptions for 69 yards, while Latimore was 4-of-7 for 72 yards.

Senior Preston Fox was the main target. He hauled in five catches for 117 yards.

“Fox is dangerous when he gets the ball. I don’t know how fast he is, but he sure looks fast on film,” said Cole.

Along with the QBs both threats to run it, Morgantown has several players that will look to do just that. Quinn Thompson and Jace Whetsell are the two likely to carry the load.

“They spread it out with one back generally in place. If they bring a second back in, he’s more on the line; sort of like our H-back,” said Cole. “They want to get us in space, and they’ll try a lot or RPO (read-pass option) stuff to take some shots on us, I’m sure, down field.

“I’ve told the defense, particularly our secondary, that we’re going to get tested,” Cole continued. “This is that test and we’re going to have to tackle in the open field and keep people in front of us.”

That will put extra pressure on a defensive line led by senior Michael Watkins and a linebacking corps paced by seniors Carson Winkie and Trey Pancake to make things uncomfortable up front. Winkie led the way with six tackles in a game where Lewis County had just 17 offensive plays.

Brian Henderson, the lone starter returning in the secondary, will be counted on to lead that unit against the passing Cole is certain that is coming. He’ll also likely be counted on to due the bulk of the running out of Bridgeport’s power pistol attack.

Henderson carried the ball last week a whopping 28 times for 133 yards and two scores. J.D. Love, who was one of six Indians to carry the ball last week, finished with 57 yards on 13 runs.

Quarterback Devin Vandergrift looked good in his second year starting. The senior completed 5-of-6 passes for 55 yards with Sam Romano leading the way with four receptions for 43 yards.

The game will be carried on 103.3 WAJR FM. Travis Jones, “The Voice of the Indians” will handle the play by play. Chris George will provide color commentary. The pre-game show begins at 6:30 p.m.