CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Bridgeport senior standouts A.C. Caldera and Anthony Bonamico will finish their high school careers with one final game in Saturday’s North-South Football Classic. marquee
The two were part of a tremendous athletic year overall for the Indians, who took Class AA state championships in both football and baseball. The school also won state championships in boys cross country, boys track and girls track, along with runner-up finishes in cheerleading and girls soccer.
“Coach Nicewarner put in the new offense in football and that really opened up the playbook for me and our quarterback A.C. Caldera. The job that our line did can’t go unspoken,” Bonamico said. “Onto baseball, Coach (Robert) Shields motivated us every single day to do the best that we could. It was a great year.”
Back in December, the Indians ended Wayne’s 36-game winning streak, beating the Pioneers in the Class AA football title game 14-13 on a snow-covered field. Bridgeport followed that up earlier this month with a 5-2 baseball state championship win over Independence, tying the school’s all-time wins in a season with 32.
“It’s been a year that I’ll always remember,” Caldera said. “Winning football, how unreal that felt winning it, and then getting down to the baseball tournament and winning that, it’s just like one big dream for us all. It’s unforgettable the feeling of not only winning one, but two state championships.”
Both of the Bridgeport standouts will be looking to help the North get back on the winning track Saturday, and bounce back from an ugly 43-14 loss to the South a year ago.
“Coach (Bill) Haddox has done a great job and its putting athletes in the right position,” Bonamico said. “I came down here and didn’t know any of the other kids I played against, but you realize that they’re the same kind of kids that you are. It’s been an awesome couple of days.
“Even the kids from Keyser – that’s a rivalry that just happened over two years,” he continued. “I never thought I would talk to those kids (again), but they’ve been my best friends since I’ve been down here.”
Bonamico finished his senior year on the football field with 2,141 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns on 205 carries, while Caldera rushed for 1,183 yards with 21 touchdowns and threw for 360 yards and three more scores. Both players will move on after Saturday to play at the Division II level with West Virginia Wesleyan.
“I’m grateful for being down here with all of these great players,” Caldera said of Saturday’s contest. “It’s fun, but at the same time it’s serious because the South wants to beat us pretty bad and we want to give the fans a good game. The environment of the game is awesome – all the fans and hype. It seems like it will be a great experience on Saturday night.”