When Bridgeport’s Jake Bowen rambles for more than 200 yards in a game, chances aren’t good for the opposition to get the win. When the Indians throw for more than 100 yards in a single half as well, there’s practically no chance for the opposition.
Such was the case this evening as Bowen rushed for 259 yards and the passing game had 119 first half yards in the Tribe’s 49-13 win against the Frankfort in the opening round of the Class AA playoffs. By game’s end, the hosts had more than 500 yards of offense.
The win moves No. 3 BHS to 10-1 on the year and into the second round against Robert C. Byrd, a 35-14 winner against Shady Spring. Frankfort, No. 14, ends the year at 8-3.
Bowen unofficially matched his career-high with 259 yards on 24 carries and three touchdowns. If that wasn’t enough, Devin Vandergrift had a career night as well. He finished 6-of-6 passing for 128 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions and added two rushing scores for good measure.
The passing came as a result of what the Falcons’ defense did trying to stop the Tribe. Frankfort loaded the box with players for most of the first half and put the Tribe’s D’Andre Hollaway on an island with a solo defender with no safety help over the top. It didn’t take long for the Indians to being to exploit it.
“They basically, the way Frankfort was playing, were like they almost had 10 in the box,” said Bridgeport Coach John Cole. “ … Their job was to stop the run and to stop Jake and there for about a quarter there they did a decent job of it.”
The first quarter did prove to be decent for the guests. Although the Falcons didn’t stop Bridgeport from moving the ball, they were right in the mix in the opening 12 minutes of play.
Bridgeport looked as if it was going to score on its first possession as the Indians started at the 35 and rode the legs of Bowen down to the FHS four. Then, facing a third-and-goal play, the Indians did something they’ve only done one other time this year – they fumbled the ball away.
“That turnover gave them some life … they were playing hard,” said Cole.
Frankfort stopped the drive thanks to the turnover, but couldn’t move the ball and BHS got it right back. This time, Bridgeport started at its own 45 and needed just five plays to find the end zone and the Falcons got an unexpected preview of things to come.
On a second down play, Vandergrift went into the pocket and Holloway ran a post route against an FHS defense that was, as mentioned above, without safety help. Holloway was wide open and Vandergrift’s pass was on the money for a 28-yard pass play for six. The first of seven successful Evan Ogden point-after kicks made the score 7-0 Bridgeport with 2:40 in the first quarter
The score didn’t rattle the visitors from Mineral County. The Falcons responded quickly and needed just four plays to cover 70 yards and get right back in the game.
“They knew they could beat us and had a chance,” said Cole after FHS cut the lead to one point.
After three straight Frankfort runs got the ball to the Tribe’s 45, Dalton Pollock punished the Indians in a big way. The senior fullback went to the left, broke a bevy of tackles and went 45 yards for the score.
The only negative on the series involved the point-after kick. The attempt never made it to the cross bar and the Tribe held on to a 7-6 advantage with 1:09 in the first quarter.
While it was the only negative on the series, there were plenty of negatives heading Frankfort’s way in the second quarter. The Indians would score a trio of touchdowns to take control of the contest and lead 28-6 at the half.
The first score would prove to be the most grueling as it covered 75 yards on 15 plays and ate up 7:11 of clock. The drive ended on a fourth down play from the three of FHS and saw Bowen bust in off tackle to make it 14-6 at the 5:58 mark.
During the drive, Vandergrift continually hooked up with Holloway who was still going one on one with his defender. Holloway caught three passes for 41 yards – and there was more to come.
(Offensive Coordinator) Coach (Tyler) Phares did a great job,” said Cole. “They had 10 in there and we liked the matchup that they were giving us. We put the ball in Devin’s hands and D’Andre was D’Andre.”
Bridgeport would get the ball back late in the second quarter and the duo hooked up again. On first down, Vandergrift stared down some backside pressure and got the ball to Holloway for what proved to be a 48-yard pass that took the ball to the Frankfort 12. On the next play Bowen scored to help push the advantage to 21-6 at the 2:38 mark before halftime.
That appeared to be what the score would be at the intermission. However, when Frankfort opted to try and move the ball down the field by way of pass the Indians forced three straight incompletions and got the ball back following a good punt with 2:13 to play.
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