BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Timely film study and a tremendous special teams play provided the winning margin for No. 8 Bridgeport to defeat No. 9 George Washington in the opening round of the Class AAA playoffs.
Wes Brown Jr. blocked a GW PAT attempt with 2:22 left as the Indians held off a late rally from the Patriots, 28-27.
George Washington (6-5) went on a 90-yard drive that was capped by an Abe Fenwick 4-yard touchdown pass to Keegan Sack. Brown Jr. however broke through the line to stuff the ensuing kick.
“That’s something we were watching on film, actually this morning. We made a note of it,” said Bridgeport head coach Tyler Phares. “Wes really made a note of it. We thought that he would be lining up right there. He opened the gate great and got his hand in there and made a heck of a football play. He had a great game all night.”
The Indians (10-1) recovered an onside kick and picked up two first downs to seal the victory. Zach Rohrig broke free on a run with just over a minute to go. With the Patriots down to just one timeout, Rohrig slid down at the GW 3-yard line, leaving the Indians just two kneel downs to end it. He rushed for 163 yards.
“We knew if we busted it and we got the first down that they didn’t have enough timeouts to stop it. I say that I coached it but all the kids actually knew it. They are all heady and they knew what to do.”
GW opened the game on a Fenwick-to-Sack 4-yard touchdown toss to take a 6-0 lead. The Indians however scored 21 unanswered points. Timothy Jeffress’ 65-yard scoring run gave BHS a 7-6 lead. In the second quarter, Josh Love scored on runs of 4 and 23 yards.
The Patriots trimmed their deficit to seven points at halftime when Fenwick and Sack combined on a 22-yard touchdown connection.
The Indians rebuilt a two-score margin on their opening possession of the third quarter when Rohrig scored a 48-yard touchdown.
“We’ve got four or five kids that can all step in and do their thing. It just depends on the night when it is rolling. Tonight, it was Zach and [Love’s] night and they did a great job.”
Anthony Valentine’s 10-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter brought the Patriots within a score at 28-21.
Cale Culicerto collected the lone turnover of the game in the second quarter, intercepting a deep pass down the middle of the field.
“It doesn’t come without sacrifice. When you are trying to take away the deep shots, obviously it is going to be a little bit tougher underneath. They exploited that for a while. Our kids kept battling and made them drive the field.”
Bridgeport has advanced to the quarterfinal round for the 16th consecutive season.
“These kids defended this turf their entire careers. I am so proud of them to do it again.”
The Indians will face No. 1 Cabell Midland (10-1) in the quarterfinal round next weekend.