WHEELING, W.Va. — Top-ranked Wayne’s last-second heave into the end zone fell to the ground, ending a flurry of late-game dramatics as No. 2 Bridgeport held on for a 14-13 win in the Class AA state championship Friday night.

“I don’t think I can put this into words,” said Bridgeport quarterback A.C. Caldera, whose team ended Wayne’s 36-game winning streak on the snow-covered field at Wheeling Island Stadium.

“It’s incredible what this team just did. We just beat a Wayne team that’s been incredible for the last two or three years. It’s a great feeling right now.”

Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Bridgeport quarterback A.C. Caldera celebrates a 39-yard touchdown run during the West Virginia Super Six state championship Friday night. Caldera ran for 109 yards on 17 carries as Bridgeport edged Wayne 14-13 for the Class AA title.

Caldera, named the player of the game, finished with 109 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns. He was also 1-of-1 passing for 11 yards.

The snowy conditions led to a combined seven fumbles and five turnovers between the two teams.

“It was unfortunate that we had to play in this,” said Bridgeport head coach Josh Nicewarner. “I don’t think either team got to showcase what they wanted to, but it definitely makes for great memories. It probably was a deciding factor in this game.”

Video: MVP Caldera reflects on the title

Another deciding factor came in the final minute of the first half as Wayne—seeking a state championship three-peat—held a 13-6 lead. Deep in their own territory, the Pioneers (13-1) opted to run a couple of more plays before the half when quarterback Grant Ferguson fumbled and Bridgeport recovered at the Wayne 28-yard line with 23 seconds to go.

Two plays later, Caldera scampered in from 22 yards out. Anthony Bonamico then ran in the two-point conversion attempt off the left side, giving the Indians a 14-13 lead at the break and, ultimately, the game.

“That was huge,” Nicewarner said. “I felt we were able to do some things offensively, but I thought we killed ourselves offensively a lot in the first half. We were able to create the turnover and two quick plays later, put it in for a score.”

Bonamico finished with 64 yards on 17 carries.

Video: Bridgeport coach Nicewarner after the upset

Wayne that scored first, a 1-yard run by Mason Hodge after Bridgeport turned the ball over on its first possession. The Indians answered with a 39-yard run by Caldera, but the extra point failed to leave the score 7-6 with 9:49 to go in the second quarter.

Wayne’s second touchdown came on a 34-yard pass from Ferguson to Kurt Arthur with 7:09 before the half, but the Pioneers’ PAT failed also.

Hodge finished with 109 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries in the losing effort. Ferguson had 95 yards on the ground and another 61 through the air on 5-of-8 passing.

Wayne’s 36-game streak remains tied with Ansted for the state record.

“Definitely not the outcome we wanted,” said Wayne coach Tom Harmon. “We have high hopes here at Wayne and we wanted to win it. It’s a little bit of a life lesson there—you don’t always get what you want. Our kids played valiantly. But we made a few mistakes, and those mistakes ended up costing us the game.”

Bridgeport won its seventh state championship but its first since 2000.

“We tried to downplay the stage as much as we possibly could, and I don’t think we came out shell-shocked or in awe,” Nicewarner said. “I think we came out and played physical.”

The Indians had just one second half first down to Wayne’s 11. Overall, the Pioneers also outgained Bridgeport 320-192. But key turnovers forced by the Indians’ defense and red-zone stands proved to be the difference.

Bridgeport freshman linebacker Mackenzie Holmes collected one of those key turnovers—an interception at midfield with 7:08 to go, one play after the Indians surrendered the ball to the Pioneers.

“Our defense was a big question mark coming into this season and they were the ones that just got better throughout the year, and ultimately won this championship for us,” Nicewarner said.

Bridgeport improved 7-1 all-time in championship game appearances.

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Comments

  • Dwayne

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  • Champion ships

    Bridgeport defense is the best . Good luck Wayne next year .

  • richard

    Soooo glad Wayne lost!!! Thanks Bridgeport.

  • Larry

    Someone has a Facebook page for Wayne football team and on it their was talk of praying that they would win, I find that very troubling and sad. It is fine to pray for the safety of the players, but to pray for a team to win is wrong, plain and simple!

    • richard

      I really don't think God gives a hoot who wins a football game. And as far as praying for safety of the players - that's fine, but I really don't think God wants us to put ourselves in dangerous situations and then pray for our safety while we are doing that activity.

  • Beaver 10 state championships

    Beaver Pride
    Thank you for taking up for Bluefield Fan sounds like we have a idiot on here.Fan of bluefield fan needs to be dealt with for calling one of our formal players a vagina even he started or he didn't because once a beaver always a beaver so good for both of you but it is people like Fan of a Bluefield Fan that makes everything bad but I know also about all of it. He is just a dummy if you can't see what happens good for both of you but you can get a hold of metro news and let them know what he said about a athelete and they can find out who it is if you want anyways good for both of you !

  • richard

    ron51......wasn't trying to come down hard.....but I like the class you just showed by admitting small mistake and congratulating both teams. but I know what you were trying to say. I see your point too.

  • Bruce

    I'm really proud to see BHS win states. I played at BHS in1974 -1976, then AAA ball and I know how hard it is to win a state title. This game reminded me of the 1973 title. Hard fought with major game turning mistakes. Nothing's changed at BHS---the boys that play out of this school play with great heart and more so with intelligence. Good job boys and I know it will not be the last! I need to get back into the school and see trophy.

    Now, win the basketball states!

  • Bluefield Fan

    Fan of Bluefield Fan
    Also I have been coaching for sixteen years and played in college and coached at different levels. I am not saying I hate anyone but it would be nice to lose a game because the other team was just better,that is not the case when we have better atheletes all the way around. You have to make adjustments and you have to mix it up and not be so predictive , the Bridgeport coach said it that he didn't expect us to change anything and guess what we didn't . So say what you want it is only the truth being stated so I am not gonna argue with someone of your football knowledge , which is none !

    • wow

      apply for the job and quite whining, Bluefield has as many state titles in football as anyone, just not this year. Bluefield's problem against Bridgeport was, getting beat at the line(both ways) and under throwing the long ball. maybe hey could have thrown some more passes in the flats earlier in the game but they didn't and the game is over. Nice to see a state football title come back to N/C WV.

    • Aaron

      Seriously dude, you need to get over it. This game was between Wayne and Bridgeport, not Bluefield.

    • Beaver Pride Forever

      Bluefield fan
      Hey I agree with everything you said and sounds like we have a idiot posting against you. It doesn't take a idiot to realize what happens in the big games and he is one for not seeing that but like you said,somebody who calls a former athelete that played on the beaver football team a vagina shows you his education lol. I know who you are and you said nothing bad about anybody he is the one that came on here calling names and calling you a coward but little does he know ,he doesn't want to know who you are or your son he is the coward and liar and you are right in what you put on here and trust me there a whole lot if beaver faithful that agree with you keep your feelings coming good for you !

      • Beaver 10 State Championships

        Beaver Pride
        You are right bluefield fan is right in what he said anybody that has watched bluefield knows what he said is the truth.ic I am reading right he didn't say anything wrong just the truth but for that idiot to get on here, and call one of our formal beavers a vagina that played on a state championship team that is way out of line . He needs to be dealt with and if you contact metro news and read what he put about a kid they can find out who it is anyways it is the truth and he hysterically can't take it lol. I am glad people are finally talking about it good job both if you go beavers !

    • Fan of Bluefield Fan

      Nice resume'

  • Armchair Qb

    Great game! Congrats to Bridgeport in my opinion Mason Hodge should have had 40 carries and Wayne would have brought home the championship.

  • Frank

    Wayne is going to have to improve schedule to play some tough games throughout the year. Love Waynes effort and Im not from either school but obviously on a dry field BP would have gotten their big back with over 2000 yards involved. Great game though.

  • WV1

    I see a common trend of winning team haters. The state has to hate on Martinsburg for being a winning team and now Bridgeport. Congrats to Bridgeport on a hard fought game and bringing home the trophy.

  • ron51

    dear troll and richard you are right i guess i got carried away it does take a lot of hard work to have that kind of streak congrats to wayne and bridgeport and you can look it up about me being a member of the 72 73 74 team ron skaggs again im sorry for my poor taste

    • Larry

      Don't feel bad, the '72 Dolphins celebrate every time someone "saves" their record. It will be a long time before, if ever, that the 36 game win streak is in serious jeopardy.

  • ron51

    dear troll and richard you are right i guess i got carried away it does take a lot of hard work to have that kind of streak congrats to wayne and bridgeport and you can look it up about me being a member of the 72 73 74 team ron skaggs

    • DW

      Ron, you didn't say or do anything wrong. You spoke your feelings. You did not put a single person, team, or work ethic down. Nothing wrong with wanting to stay on top.

  • Sono Man

    Congrats Bridgeport! Wayne, great season! You lost to a very good AAA team.

    • Aaron

      I'm not sure if that's sour grapes, sore losing or both. What Sono Man fails to recognize is that Bridgeport holds no more of an enrollment advantage over Wayne than Wayne holds over the majority of teams it has beaten during it's 36 game winning streak. Only two Cardinal Conference teams have greater enrollments than Wayne of their recent playoff opponents, Wayne has been the larger school in most games.

    • Wow

      Wayne lost to a very good AA team, that could not use their great speed edge on a slick field. I'm sure the snow did not help waynes game either. My point is both teams played on the same field and Wayne lost and Bridgeport won. You are just trying to make an excuse for the lose.

  • Craig Chapman

    Excellent game! IMO it came down to the elements. Inclement weather is a big equalizer. I have no ties to either side last, I just love the game. Wayne is a top notch program and came well prepared. Bridgeport showed alot of heart and was also well prepared. With the snow, it evened the running games and took away outside plays, also much of the passing game. Would have Wayne won in good weather, maybe, but when the snow is on the ground, it comes down to ground and pound. Ultimately, alota heart and some luck (turnovers)got the win for Bridgeport. Great game, great teams, great memories for all!

    • WJB

      both teams played on the same field and were equally "handcuffed" on offense. Bridgeport had 4 fumbles to Wayne's 3. The passing attacked yielded an INT and a TD for Wayne!! All things were equal. It's not a what if thing both were equally hampered offensively with what they like to do. Great game.

    • Craig Chapman

      I expect we see another good game today. Can't wait!