BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — One week after having its season opener pushed back, reigning Class AA state champion Bridgeport unveiled its new Single Wing offense in grand fashion against Liberty Harrison.
The Indians, on the strength of 443 rushing yards, had their way in a 63-0 victory over the Mountaineers at Wayne Jamison Field.
“We have plenty of backs that can run the football,” BHS coach John Cole said. “Coach (Tyler) Phares designed this offense and they’re going to have to defend us sideline to sideline. I wasn’t terribly pleased with tackle to tackle. We have to sharpen that up. But we have to be able to run wherever he calls the plays. We had a little more size and we were stronger.”
The opener for the Tribe marked Bridgeport’s first game in its return to Class AAA school after a scheduled Week 1 game at Morgantown wasn’t played due to the color coded COVID-19 map.
Bridgeport (1-0) needed only 1:04 to strike first, getting a 29-yard run from JT Muller to gain the early 7-0 advantage.
After forcing a three-and-out, the Indians covered 67 yards and got an 8-yard TD run from JD Love to double their lead with 4:15 left in the opening frame.
“They played a very physical game and their new offense was clicking,” Liberty coach AJ Harman said. “We’re still growing as a team. It’s early in the season and we have to work to do.”
The Tribe’s next score came on the first play of the ensuing series when upback Phil Reed tossed a 43-yard pass to Landyn Reppert, who got behind the defense to make it 21-0 with 2:23 to play in the first.
“Defenses are going to have to defend us a lot of different ways and that’s a good thing,” Cole said.
Cam Cole’s 7-yard touchdown run and Love’s 4-yard scoring run allowed BHS to add to its advantage and lead 35-0 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Hayden Moore accounted for a pair of rushing TDs from 2 and 8 yards, respectively, the latter of which came after he recovered a fumble at the Liberty 38.
Derek Starkey scored on a 17-yard run with 4:12 left in the third and Connor Arnett’s 4-yard run with 6:54 to play capped the scoring.
“Our offensive line did a good job,” Cole said. “We have some kids that can run the football. They just need to have a place to run it.”
For as impressive as Bridgeport’s new-look offense was, the program’s reliable defense started the season with a dominant showing in a shutout.
The Mountaineers (1-1) scored 38 in a season-opening win at South Harrison, but their ground game was slowed in a big way against the Indians, who seemed to feed off playing with a lead throughout.
“We had a couple different looks and schemes and made some adjustments on the fly when we needed to,” Cole said. “We have five or six starters back and they did a really good job.“