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

  • 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 !

    • Fan of Bluefield Fan

      Nice resume'

    • 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 !

    • Aaron

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

    • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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!

    • Craig Chapman

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

    • 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.

  • First Reviewer

    Great Game !!

  • Martinsburg Fan

    Coming from a Martinsburg fan, that was one of the most exciting football games I've seen in a long time! We made the trip early just so I could see this game and it was well worth it! My hat's off to both teams for, not only a great and hard fought game, but for incredible seasons!

  • good job bridgeport

    it was obvious wayne would lose. they play no one. they barely beat bluefield.

    • wvu999

      Stay classy Bridgeport

      • Neal

        Just because someone puts 'Bridgeport' in their name doesn't mean they are from Bridgeport or are a BHS supporter. BHS has no rivalry with Wayne nor any reason to dislike people from Wayne. Most likely this came from someone who has an axe to grind against Wayne HS, not from somone from Bridgeport.

    • Mickey

      You are an idiot..Wayne won 36 straight games..

    • GF

      Yeah, so obvious that that Wayne couldn't even move the ball, only 11 first downs in the second half to Bridgeport's 1. Face it, Bridgeport was the lucky one.

      Not a fan of either team per se, but as a football fan, I would have really liked to see this game. Both teams are excellent and I thought it would be the best game of the Championships.

    • Mtn man

      @ good job B., What's your problem dude?? Great game and great seasons for both teams.

      • Steve

        Some of the Bridgeport fans are sounding like the Martinsburg fans. It would have been good to see a clean field. It would have still been a tight game, but even the Bridgeport coach said conditions effected the outcome.

        • Steve

          I should amend my previous statement. Some of the Martinsburg fans. Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't they have an 0-10 season before their current run? Same as Wayne and Huntington. Fans of any team need to remember the lean times and appreciate when things are going well.

        • Mtn man

          Steve, As a Dog fan myself I'm glad you amended your comment to include "some". Even at that it was an unnecessary comment. Anyway...Hope'n for better weather and another great game today.

    • Bluefield fan

      I thought this was a expected game weather or no weather because these were two well coached teams with both very fundamental and very physical teams on the comment Wayne would lose they play no one well they have won 36 straight and everybody including us bluefield had a chance to step up and beat them so I commend them and I also commend Bridgeport for winning the state championship like I said when you have coaches like Wayne and Bridgeport have and the kids that beleive in their coaches that is what wins and makes exceptional football teams which we don't have in bluefield heck our coaches don't even help our kids into college and we have a offensive coordinator that loses it for our kids every year especially when you don't make adjustments and you don't even go with your strengths anyways I am proud to be a part of West Virginia high school football and that was one of the best state championship games ever Congratulations Bridgeport on a state championship and congrats to Wayne on another good seasons !

      • Mtn man

        Blfd. fan, I thought you folks down there held coach Simon and staff in high regard?? A little surprised at your comment. By the way, don't you guys have a 10,000 seat stadium down there that could host the super six? Would have to be better weather that far south I would think. Not to be negative toward Wheeling, they do a great job but I was just wondering.

        • Bluefield fan

          Mtn Man
          Let explain my post every year we have exceptional atheletes and we seem to blow the big games and it all had to do with coaching and the reason I feel the way I do Is my son played on the 2009 state championship team and we should have won back to back in 2010 but our offensive coordinator blew it just like he did this year our receivers are 6ft 3 and 6ft 2 and Bridgeport and Wayne d backs wasn't even 5ft 10 and our QB threw for over 1500 yards and we get in the big games this year and he doesn't even throw it and when he did we scored and we have a 6ft4 240 lb full back and he runs our 166 lb scat back off tackle and our full back touches the ball maybe three times we just get out coached in the big games and for the record coach simon is AWSOME but his son is the offensive coordinator so that is all I need to say plus he knows nothing about football like his dad we are offensive coordinator away from several more championships and yes when we have the bluefield grahmn game there is about 13,0000 people there but as far as after high school not good because if you want your son to play in college you better do it yourself but they may be the way a lot of coaches are but you shouldn't expect the coaches to do that you as a parent should be very involved but Coach Simon is a great coach but his son kills his program

          • Fan of Bluefield Fan

            Maybe you should put in the time it takes to be a coach. Also, what is your hatred for periods and/or commas? Your writing indicates that you are not the brightest of people.

          • Bluefield Fan

            Fan of bluefield fan
            Truth hurts don't it lol ,why don't you try talking to all the kids that have graduated that don't want to come back and watch besides you have been to the games and heard the fans lol all I can say is the truth hurts doesn't it .Especially the come back you have is my grammar lol the truth is on the field every Friday when we play in a big game because we lose and I am very happy with my self and I am very bright and if you want me to include all the people that I know on this conversation it will not be pretty.So I am just stating the truth and I know it hurts but if you knew anything about football you would understand but really look who you are taking up for so that says it all .......

          • Fan of Bluefield Fan

            Truth is, is that your son probably wasn't as good as you or him thought he was. In fact, he was probably an uncoordinated vagina and I'm willing to bet you are as well. The program would be better off without parents like yourself, who think they know everything. Who knows, maybe one day the great fans of Bluefield will be stuck with a coach like Buster Large.

          • Fan of bluefield

            Fan of Bluefield Fan
            Oh now that shows right there what kind of leaders we have over our kids. Once again the truth hurts and to call a kid that played at bluefield a vagina shows exactly what I am saying and you are wrong because both of us have education from college.We both started in college but for you a supporter of that idiot and to day this about a bluefield kid that played and was very good I can't wait to show this at the bluefield grahmn game this August.This is exactly what bluefield needs because I never said any bad words because even though I don't like what fritz does ,I won't degrade him like you have a kid that played for the beavers and you say you are a fan lol, no it's people like you that we don't need pathetic lol !! Like I said the truth really hurts lol lol !!!!

          • Fan of Bluefield Fan

            Never did mention names, but I know that YOU are a liar and a coward.

  • Mr Bullsnip

    Roll tribe is all I can say.

  • richard

    ron51....that was pretty classless. i know you might be happy over it---but keep it to yourself and just say congrats bridgeport. me??? congratulations bridgeport!!

  • WVcoal

    Instant classic! Thank you to Bridgeport and Wayne for a terrific game.

    • david booth

      classic 7 turnovers ? On a dry field I see it rather lopsided.Go INDIANS!!!!!!

  • ron51

    as a member of the ansted team that set the record all i can say way to go bridgeport

    • Troll

      That's real classy, how about congratulations to Wayne for tying the record, you if it's true that you were on the team should know better than most what it takes for such success.

      • Say What?

        I almost went to the game. Glad I did not. I must be getting old, but when I know no one on either team or from either city, and the weather forecast does not favor my low back and knees, better to stay home and catch the highlights. Congrats to the Indians for winning another title in AA. Maybe take another in AAA next year!