BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – While game one on the 2013 season for Bridgeport is a road contest at Buckhannon-Upshur, there undoubtedly will be a little extra attention on the Indians’ eventual home date with Keyser coming in October.
The Golden Tornado dealt Bridgeport two of three losses a season ago, including a convincing 42-14 victory in the Class AA playoff semifinals.
“We lost to Keyser twice last year and I don’t want to come out and lose to them on the home field,” senior center Hunter Renquest said.
Senior running back Anthony Bonamico was injured during the regular season match-up with Keyser, but the memory of the playoff defeat still burns inside.
“I don’t think anybody returning hasn’t thought about the (Keyser) game almost every single day,” he said. “That’s the only thing we’ve been thinking about — beating Keyser.”
Bonamico will be tasked with replacing first team all-state running back Brett Hathaway in the backfield.
And he will have plenty of experience paving the way for him. The Indians return four of their five offensive linemen from last year’s 9-3 squad.
“Anytime you can bring back an offensive line with that type of experience you’re looking pretty good,” said head coach Josh Nicewarner.
Which, of course, is nothing new for Nicewarner’s club as the Indians have built a consistent winner year-in and year-out.
“Every single time we step out on the field we expect to win,” he said. “Anything less than that is a disappointment, but adversity, and how you respond to it, can be key come playoff time. We’re going to focus on week one right now and when the other games get here we will worry about those.”
While his players want to right a wrong against Keyser, Big 10 games, and the annual rivalry with Robert C. Byrd, for the Indians are of equal importance.
“It’s the unwritten rule to never look past week one, but the Big 10 is competitive as it has ever been,” Nicewarner said. “I believe the team to beat out there is Keyser and we’re fortunate enough to have them in the regular season.”
The teenagers Nicewarner instructs on the field understand the attitude he brings to the gridiron.
“He always wants us to try our hardest and give it 110 percent all the time,” Renquest said. “If we don’t give it 110 percent then he doesn’t want us on the field.”
– Wes McKinney