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Polar Bears Visit

By Chris Johnson, 09/17/21, 11:45AM EDT

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The Class AAA No. 8 Bridgeport High School football team is back at Wayne Jamison Field tonight to face Class AA No. 13 Fairmont Senior.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. between the two rivals. The Indians (2-0) are coming off a 54-6 win against Liberty, while the Polar Bears (2-1) rallied to defeat Fairmont Senior last Friday, 20-14.

This Fairmont Senior team appears to be a little different than the more recent ones when it comes to offense.

“They are more of a running team this year than a throwing team,” Bridgeport coach Tyler Phares said. “That’s not saying they can’t throw the ball well, because they can but they definitely have a decent mix of run and pass.”

The past two years, the key to the Senior offense was dual-threat quarterback Gage Michael. Prior to that it was quarterback Connor Neal. Through the first three games this season, running back Germain Lewis has been the catalyst.

Lewis has 270 rushing yards on 32 attempts and four touchdowns. Fullback Dylan Ours has been effective as well with 197 yards on 16 attempts and a touchdown. New QB Dom Stingo has 104 rushing yards on 28 attempts.

And it’s not as if Stingo doesn’t throw the ball, he’s completed 21-of-44 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns.

His main targets have been Kayson Nealy with six catches for 62 yards and a touchdown, Jayden Cheriza with five catches for 88 yards and a TD and Lewis with three catches for 107 yards and a TD.

“They are a solid football team,” Phares said. “You have to be able to defend all areas of the football field. You have to run to the football and do all the little things on defense that I’m comfortable our guys can do.”

The BHS defense has played aggressively in the first two games of the season and that’s at all 11 positions and it is something that Phares doesn’t envision changing.

The play of the secondary has stood out in the wins against Morgantown and Liberty. Three of the four leading tacklers for the Indians are defensive backs in Charlie Brazier (18 tackles), Aidan Paulsen (15 tackles) and Derek Starkey (13 tackles). Brazier also intercepted two passes a week ago against the Mountaineers.

Linebacker Phil Reed also has double-digit tackles with 15.

Last week the Indians had 551 rushing yards which is the best total in school history in the modern era, eclipsing the record of 543 set last year against Robert C. Byrd.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about those 551 yards is that 14 different players carried the ball but nobody carried it more than five times. Six of those 14 players averaged more than 10 yards per carry.

Senior t-back Cam Cole had 208 yards on five carries and four touchdowns. For the season, Cole now has 262 rushing yards which brings his career total to 1,898, putting him in 13th place on the school’s career rushing list since 1997.

Landyn Reppert enters the Senior game with 192 rushing yards on 24 attempts and a touchdown.

Six other players have at least 29 yards and five other players have at least one touchdown.

"We were able to play a lot of guys last week and that’s great,” Phares said. “It’s good anytime you get to play everybody.

“We have a lot of kids who are going to get more carries than they have been over the next couple of weeks.”

Tonight's game will air locally on WKMZ 103.3 FM featuring the Indians Radio Network crew of Travis Jones (play by play), Chris George (color analyst) and Brent Kimble (sideline reporter).

The game can also be accessed online via the Bridgeport Sports Radio App or www.bridgeportindiansfootball.com