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Back-to-back: Bridgeport retains Class AA title with rout of Frankfort

WHEELING, W.Va. – Dylan Tonkery ran for 315 yards to set a Class AA Super Six rushing record as Bridgeport won its second straight state championship by beating Frankfort 43-7 on Friday night in a steady rain.

“I can’t say enough,” said Bridgeport coach Josh Nicewarner, whose team finished 13-1. “Week to week, we’ve just gotten better and we grew. Our defense has been just unbelievable and these guys are so worthy of the state championship.”

Tonkery finished with three touchdowns on 25 carries, averaging 12.6 yards per rush. The previous Class AA rushing record was set in 2008 by Grafton’s Damon Waters who put up 287 yards against Magnolia.

MORE: Nicewarner and Tonkery react to championship

“(Tonkery) had a lot of help too,” Nicewarner said. “Dylan is a phenomenal running back, but tonight he had 10 other guys out there working for him. Certainly, it’s a great individual honor for him, but we’ll take that state championship any day.”

Tonkery scored on the game’s first play with a 73-yard run, and Frankfort (13-1) never recovered.

“I just got to the outside on that opening play and it was good blocking. I got open space and I just started running,” Tonkery said. “I didn’t really focus (on the record) at all. I was just trying to get the win—I was just running the ball and I didn’t even know about the record until the fourth quarter.”

Bridgeport running back Dylan Tonkery rushed for a Class AA Super Six record.
Bridgeport running back Dylan Tonkery rushed for 315 yards, a Class AA Super Six record.

The Indians had won seven previous football titles but never in back-to-back seasons.

“It’s pretty special. It’s the first time we’ve ever done it and it just means so much to everybody,” Tonkery said. “Especially for the seniors—this was their last game and knowing that they went out with a win is awesome.”

Bridgeport outgained Frankfort 426-148. The Falcons had just 52 rushing yards on 21 carries, playing in their first state championship game.

“I’m very proud of our football team for finishing the season like we did to get to the title game,” said Frankfort coach Kevin Whiteman. “But my hat goes off to Bridgeport. They have a very good football team with a lot of team speed and a lot of strength. They beat us fair and square. It was a long night for us, but we were still proud to be here and proud of what we accomplished.”

MORE: Frankfort’s Whiteman after title game loss

Bridgeport led 29-0 at the half, erupting for 22 points in the second quarter. Frankfort scored first in the second half on a 54-yard pass from Gage Shaffer to Jacob Kessel—a bizarre play where Bridgeport’s Luke Southern appeared to make the interception before the ball popped up and Kessel made the touchdown catch.

“I was hoping we could maybe score another touchdown or two,” Whiteman said. “But they controlled us the whole night. They earned it, they deserved it and they have a very good football team.”

Bridgeport limited Frankfort quarterback Gage Shaffer, and Maryland commitment,to just 8-of-21 passing for 96 yards and a touchdown.

Besides Tonkery, Dante Bonamico added 89 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 16 carries for the Indians, who improved to 8-1 in state championship games..

“These guys answered the call,” Nicewarner said. “These guys executed so well, our backs ran well and read well. But our defense, again, certainly won us this championship.”

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