BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — To say it has been an eventful week for Bridgeport head coach Josh Nicewarner would be an understatement.
His Indians last week took down No. 1 Wayne in the Class AA state championship game 14-13 in a snow storm. And then there’s this – his wife Casey gave birth to the couple’s second son just three days later.
“It’s been quite interesting,” Nicewarner said. “It was kind of getting off of one high and getting on another one. We’re finally settling down a little bit – we’re really just trying to catch our breath.”
There was potential, of course, that the baby would come during the Super Six.
“I really do have probably the greatest wife in the world,” Nicewarner said. “She basically said that I had 50 kids that didn’t ask for us to be pregnant and I needed to take care of them – but fortunately for everyone, she was able to keep the baby in there and she actually made it through the championship game.”
Regardless, December has been good for Nicewarner as Bridgeport captured its seventh state football championship in school history with that win over Wayne. The Indians are now 7-1 in championship games all-time.
It was a veteran group of 16 seniors leading the way all year for Nicewarner’s club.
“I would even say they exceeded their potential,” he said. “The biggest thing about this team wasn’t what you could see with your eyes. We were a little mentally weak last year and we had to develop some mental toughness. They are just unbelievable kids and honestly great friends off of the field as well.
“They’ve made their lasting impressions on these younger kids and we can already start to see how they’ve grown,” he continued. “I’m just so proud of them and I really want them to enjoy this.”
Senior quarterback A.C. Caldera and running back Anthony Bonamico dominated the headlines offensively for the Indians, but it was an experienced group up front that paved the way.
“They will be the first two that give credit to those two up front,” Nicewarner said. “It was probably one of the most athletic lines up front that I’ve seen in my 11 years. They were just a special group – the fact that a majority of them played last year made it an exciting team. We put high expectations on these guys.”
As for last week’s championship game specifically – the key break came in the final minute of the second quarter when the Indians recovered a Wayne fumble and eventually scored on a 22 yard run in the final seconds of the half.
“It was exciting – we obviously made some mistakes, but Wayne’s just seemed to be a little bit more crucial,” Nicewarner said. “We were fortunate enough to force that turnover and recover it. When you have players like Caldera and Bonamico, we’ve been able to score quickly, as opposed to not being able to do that in years past – that really paid off for us.”