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Indians Tame Tigers

By Doug Comer, 10/12/18, 11:00PM EDT

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Winning is very important to the Bridgeport Football Program.

The effects of getting W’s could be the difference in hosting a playoff game at Wayne Jamison field or having to travel to unfamiliar territory on its quest for another state title. Also, getting a win means the world to those who wore the red and white, played on the old grass field and helped pave the path to those who continue the winning Indian tradition.

The fans, coaches and the parents were a little more electric on this particular night as it was a sendoff to the seniors and they did so in fitting fashion. Bridgeport rolled over a troubled Elkins Tiger team, who has tallied only 20 points total in its last four contests prior to the loss to the Indians by a 35-0 mark.

Last night’s win over Elkins on a chilly night was good preparation for a road trip next week to Keyser. Head coach John Cole knows the implications of a big road win against a strong Keyser team.

“We worked hard this week preparing our guys for the type of offense that Elkins executes. They showed us multiple sets from single to spread and our guys did a great job at stopping the run. We will face a similar offense like this next week against Keyser and hopefully we can build on our efforts tonight and carry that into next week’s game.”

The Indian defense was stellar in its contest only yielding 96 rushing yards. Of which, one of the plays being a 53-yard jaunt by quarterback 

Thomas Talkington. So, all in all, the defense accepted the challenge and made the most of their preparation coming into the game.

While, the box score will not reflect the start of the game, Bridgeport had a rare fumble in its opening possession and it gave the Tigers good field position at the 50-yard line. But, the score probably gave a good indication of what the night was for Elkins as they mishandled the handoff and the Indians took the ball right back. And just as expected, the Indians took advantage of the mishap and capped off a five minute drive when Trey Pancake rumbled in from 7 yards out to give the hosts a 7-0 lead. Running back Jake Bowen accumulated 37 yards in the drive.

Bridgeport would post another score before the end of the first quarter when the Tigers were forced to punt back on the 39-yard line.Speedster D’Andre Hallaway received the punt at his own 22-yard line and took 21 ticks off the clock avoiding the defenders en route to pay dirt. While the stat sheet will read 78-yard punt return, Hallaway covered around 120 yards of turf. Kicker Evan Ogden, who was a perfect 5-for-5 on the night, converted on the point-after attempt to stretch the lead to 14-0.

The outcome was good for the players, however, Coach Cole still addressed the little things that can sway the game in the other direction. He knows Bridgeport football and knows that some of the mistakes against Elkins may not have a similar outcome against a different team.

“The offense was strong between the tackles this evening.  We would get a couple of nice runs and then some things like motion penalties or some of the throws we attempted and the fumbles are not winning football. Also, we need to stay with our blocks.  And if do not execute properly, we could get a loss real quick.”

In the next two possessions for Elkins, it looked like they took the playbook that Coach Klein, played by Henry Winkler, used in the movie “The Waterboy.” After the BHS score, on the first play from scrimmage, the Tigers attempted a double pitch which turned into a throw to a streaking Charlie Preston, who got behind the host’s defense for a 33-yard completion. However, the drive would stall two plays later when Pancake recovered a fumble.

In its second drive, Elkins got the ball down to the 16 yard line of the Indians. And on a 3rd-and-16 play, Talkington was intercepted in the end zone by Hallaway. With the touchback, Bridgeport would begin its third scoring drive at the 20 and took a little under three minutes to score when Bowen had a 13-yard run. He would score later in the third quarter on a 59-yard run before retiring for the evening.

The passing attack notched a Bridgeport score before the end of the half, when quarterback Devin Vandergrift found wideout Austin Gibson on a 47-yard scoring strike. Ogden’s PAT closed out the first half scoring with the hosts leading 28-0 over Elkins.

As expected, the Indians went to the ground attack throughout the second half eating up clock and keeping the Tiger defense on the field. In the fourth, the visiting offense were on the field for less than three minutes and could only get off four plays before time expired.

Overall, Bowen led the ground attack with 188 yards on 25 attempts and two scores. Pancake scampered for 65 yards and a score while Vandergrift was 3-of-5 passing for 67 yards and one score.  For Elkins, Talkington was the majority of the offense running for 61 yards while passing for 75 in the losing effort.

Next for the Class AA 5th ranked Indians (7-1) is a road trip to #7 Keyser 6-1 and playoff seeding could move up with a win on the road for BHS.