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Elkins to face tough test tonight

Unbeaten Tigers to host Class AA, No. 3 Bridgeport

September 28, 2012
By Edgar Kelley - Sports Editor , The Inter-Mountain

Over the past two seasons, Elkins High School has become a force to be reckoned with on the football field, especially at the friendly confines of Wimer Stadium.

The Tigers were a perfect 4-0 at home last season and have won their only two contests there this year.

During regular-season play in 2011 and for all of this season, Elkins has either been on the winning side of football contests or has came up just a little short.

The one exception is when the Tigers took a four-game winning streak into Wayne Jamison Stadium for its matchup against Bridgeport last year.

The Tigers, playing without All-State running back Clayton Collett, struggled to get anything going in that contest and suffered a 44-7 loss at the hands of the Indians.

"After the first couple series of the game, we just fell apart," Elkins coach Greg Hott recalled. "They capitalized on every mistake we made in the game. You just can't do that against a Bridgeport team."

Elkins (5-0), which is currently ranked No. 3 in Class AAA, hopes to have better results and return the favor when it entertains Bridgeport for a 7:30 p.m. contest.

"This is going to be a measuring stick game for us," Hott said. "We are undefeated and we want to remain that way. We're going against a quality opponent and we'll see if we're the kind of football team we feel we are."

The Indians, ranked third in Class AA, enter the contest with a 4-1 record after defeating East Fairmont 28-7 last week.

Bridgeport, which dropped from the Class AAA ranks after reclassification this year, will look to attack the Tigers with its trademark smash-mouth-style of football.

That includes running its patent Stick I formation on the offensive side of the ball.

"Bridgeport is going to do the same old stuff they always do, they're going to lineup on the ball and say beat us," Hott said. "It doesn't matter what level, if its a Bridgeport team, they run the same offense and defense. And everybody has a hard time stopping what they do."

In an attempt to wear down Elkins' defense, the Indians will force feed the pigskin to running backs Brett Hathaway, Anthony Caldera and Cameron Stanley. Hathaway is Bridgeport's top rusher this season with 409 yards and six touchdowns.

"Every man on our defensive line has to do their job to perfection," Hott said. "And our entire defense has to be sure tacklers. Hopefully we can also force them into some turnovers."

Like the Indians, the Tigers want to run the football. Elkins' rushing attack has been virtually unstoppable through its first four games, racking up 2,229 yards on the ground.

Leading the charge for the Tigers is senior running back L.J. Lawrence, who will likely go over the 1,000-yard mark in the game.

Lawrence enters the contest with 975 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Collett has 531 yards rushing, while Nick Martin has 428. Collett has nine scores and Martin six.

"We're going to do what we do on offense," Hott said. "Every man needs to do their jobs, no matter what kind of look Bridgeport gives us on defense."

Tonight will mark the first time the Indians have visited Wimer Stadium for a regular-season matchup since the 1980s.

Former "America's Got Talent" champion Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. will sing the National Anthem before the game.



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