By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The Bridgeport Indians have a long tradition of playing hard-nosed power football and the River View Raiders and head coach Mitchell Estep knew of that tradition before they embarked on a journey to take on the No. 3 seed in the Class AA playoffs, Saturday afternoon at Wayne Jamison Field.
Bridgeport lined up in the power-I and ran their way to a 54-6 first round win over the No. 14 Raiders, advancing to next week’s quarterfinals.
River View head coach Mitchell Estep said, “When it comes to a conclusion like this, you’ve got to look at all of the positives that have happened this year. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but the kids have fought through those.
“We had an opportunity to come play a team full of tradition and class, a good football team, and I look for them to go deep in the playoffs.”
River View won the toss and received the opening kick, but a three and out gave the Indians the ball on their own 24 following Sammy Brewster’s punt.
Lining up in the power-I, Bridgeport ran the ball, and the clock, going 76 yards in 10 plays, chewing up 4:11 to get the game’s first score, a five yard run by Brett Hathaway. The point after failed.
Bridgeport head coach Josh Nicewarner and his staff were a bit worried about rust after the Indians’ final regular season game against Preston was canceled due to snow dropped by Hurricane Sandy.
“We came into this game with 15 days off from our last game and we were definitely concerned about coming out flat, not being as hungry as we should be,” Nicewarner said. “They (Bridgeport) definitely made a believer out of me today.”
The Raiders started their second possession on their own 10 yard line. On the first play Jordan Wilson burst through the line, cut it to the outside and raced downfield. Bridgeport defenders caught up with him at midfield and punched the ball loose. The red-clad Indians pounced on the pigskin at their own 40.
On the next play from scrimmage Hathaway rambled 60 yards, breaking tackles at the line of scrimmage and downfield for the score. Hathaway then ran for the two-point conversion to make it 14-0 with 5:26 showing on the first quarter clock.
Another River View three and out gave Bridgeport the ball following a punt, on its own 35. Again the Indians drove the field. On the first play of the second quarter, quarterback Troy Anderson connected with Cullen Cutright on a 24-yard pass for the score. Sam Hadjis booted the PAT and it was 21-0.
Misfortune continued to fall upon River View when on their second play after the kickoff, Anthony Bonamico picked off an Austin Walker pass at the Raiders’ 36.
Six plays later Anderson scrambled and then lofted a pass to Zach Bombardiere, who was stopped at the River View one. Cam Stanley carried it over for the score. Hadjis’ kick made it 28-0 and that is where it stood at the break.
Bridgeport put the nail in River View’s coffin in the third quarter. Receiving the second half kick, the Indians marched from their own 12 yard line, consuming 8:14 of clock time and on the 14th play of the drive Anderson, on a keeper, reached the end zone from two yards out.
“We kind of make a living on the long drive,” Nicewarner said. “If we’re playing sound enough defense, we can give you one or two possessions in the first half and maybe be up two scores. We’re a three, four-yard a play type of team and when we’re able to do that, we’re able to take that time off the clock.”
River View had two possessions, a total of four offensive plays in the third quarter.
Then, on the second play after the kickoff, Bonamico picked off his second pass of the game, this one he returned 47 yards for a touchdown.
Bridgeport added two more scores, a 37 yard run by Caldera in the third period, and a five yard run by Hunter Mann in the fourth.
River View got on the board with 21 ticks left on the clock when Sammy Brewster carried the pigskin across the goal from 12 yards out.
“Our kids played hard early, we just ran out of steam,” Estep said. “We’re still a little bit young, we made a lot of mistakes and got caught in situations a couple of times that got us in trouble.
“I’m proud of these kids. They exceeded expectations. We knew we lost a lot of good athletes in the last couple of years and it’s the third time in the playoffs for us. We can come back, regroup, take what we learned from this year, lead us on to next year and maybe we can get back again, maybe a little stronger next time.”
Hathaway was the game’s leading rusher with 188 yards on 17 carries. Wilson led River View with 66 yards on 16 rushes.
Bonamico had two interceptions for the Indians, while the Raiders’ Joseph McClanahan blocked two point-after attempts and Brewster recovered a Bridgeport fumble.
River View completes the season with a 6-5 record. Bridgeport, now 8-2, advances to play the winner between Summers County and Frankfort next week.
— Contact Bob Redd at
At Wayne Jamison Field
River View.............................0 0 0 6 — 6
Bridgeport..........................14 14 19 7 — 54
B - Brett Hathaway 5 run (kick failed), 5:48
B - Hathaway 60 run (Hathaway run), 5:12
B - Troy Anderson 24 pass to Cullen Cutright (Sam Hadjis kick), 11:52
B - Cameron Stanley 1 run (Hadjis kick), 7:05
B - Anderson 2 run (kick blocked), 3:46
B - Anthony Bonamico 47 interception return (Hadjis kick), 2:41
B - Anthony Caldera 37 run (kick blocked), :21
B - Hunter Mann 5 run (Hadjis kick), 4:11
RV - Sammy Brewster 12 run (pass failed), :41
RUSHNG – River View: Jordan Wilson 16-66, Austin Walker 6-31, Sammy Brewster 7-32, Ryan Blankenship 2-14, Joseph McClanahan 1-6, Jeremy Crigger 1-8, Totals 44-164. Bridgeport: Brett Hathaway 17-188, Cameron Stanley 9-48, Anthony Caldera 6-78, Troy Anderson 1-4, Alex Thorne 5-14, Michael Gray 1-1, Mitchell Winkie 1-6, Hunter Mann 2-34, Cole Stein 1-12, Totals 43-385.
PASSING – River View: Austin Walker 4-7 74 yards 2 INT. Bridgeport Troy Anderson 5-6 82 yards 1 TD, Anthony Caldera 0-1.
RECEIVING – River View: Brandon Thomas 2-53, Jordan Wilson 1-7, Demetrius Duff 1-14. Bridgeport, Cullen Cutright 3-42, Brett Hathaway 1-25, Zach Bombardiere 1-15.