High School Football

Fourth quarter rally lifts No. 4 Bridgeport over No. 1 Fairmont Senior, 35-28

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Class AAA No. 4 Bridgeport outscored Class AA No. 1 Fairmont Senior 14-0 in the fourth quarter to defeat the Polar Bears 35-28 at Wayne Jamison Field.

Cam Cole’s 19-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-2 with 90 seconds left secured the Indians’ second consecutive win in the series.

“I was proud of them because they kept fighting,” said Bridgeport head coach Tyler Phares. “There were plenty of times we could have hung our heads. We played the sloppiest game here, probably since I have been here. They could have quit but they didn’t. They took the coaching and got better as the game went on and we found a way to pull that one out.”

Fairmont Senior (2-2) opened the scoring midway through the first quarter when senior Kayson Nealy recovered a fumble and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown, putting the Polar Bears up 6-0. Bridgeport (3-0) answered late in the first quarter when Ryan Hall scored on a four-yard tote. The Indians led 7-6 after one quarter,

The teams traded touchdowns in the second quarter. FSHS freshman quarterback Brody Whitehair saw his first varsity action passed for 275 yards in the game. Whitehair connected with Nealy on an 86-yard touchdown, putting the Polar Bears up 14-7. Cole later capped a 71-yard drive for the Indians and the game was tied 14-14 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Cole scored from 22 yards out, giving the Indians a 21-14 edge. However, Fairmont Senior answered with Whitehair-to-Nealy touchdown strikes of 64 and 60 yards. The Polar Bears led 28-21 at the end of three quarters. Nealy scored all four of Fairmont Senior’s touchdowns.

The Indians, who ran for 315 yards in the game, evened the score midway through the fourth quarter when Hall scored on a three-yard run. Cole’s third touchdown gave the Indians a lead they would not relinquish. Three of Bridgeport’s five touchdowns were scored on fourth down.

“We knew they were going to be blitz heavy,” Phares said. “We wanted to hit them with our buck lateral pitch. It is a play that takes a lot of ball handling and a lot of guts. The kids executed on fourth down.

“We think we win most games on toughness, not a lot of skill, not a lot of speed but I feel like we wore them down by constantly double-teaming and making them get up off the ground. We were staying on the field longer and wore their defense down. That’s what won the game.”

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