Brett Hathaway rushed for 150 yards and scored three touchdowns as Class AA, No. 3 Bridgeport used a dominant second half to roll past Class AAA, No. 3 Elkins, 37-14, Friday night in front of a capacity crowd at Wimer Field.
The game was deadlocked at 6-6 at the intermission before the Indians scored on their first four possessions of the second half, piling up over 260 yards over the final two quarters after being held to just 92 at the intermission.
"They whipped us tonight," Elkins coach Greg Hott said. "We knew what Bridgeport was going to do and they came out and executed their game plan. Coach (Josh) Nicewarner does an excellent job with his team. Each man knows their job and they don't make many mistakes."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Edgar Kelley
Bridgeport’s Anthony Caldera runs through a pair of Elkins defenders Friday night in the Tigers’ 37-14 loss at Wimer Stadium. It was the first loss of the season Elkins.
The Tigers scored the game's first and final points. But in between, the Indians dominated on both sides of the ball, holding Elkins' explosive offense to 190 rushing yards, nearly 268 below their average through the first five games of the season.
"We just didn't get on track on offense," Hott said. "Then when Clayton (Collett) got banged up, we seemed to go flat."
Collett, a returning all-state first-team selection, had 19 yards on eight attempts, while leading rusher L.J. Lawrence went over 1,000 yards rushing for the season in the loss, finishing with 40 on 15 carries.
Collett returned the game's opening kickoff to the Indian 45-yard line to help spark the Tigers to a 6-0 lead. After Nick Martin's 40-yard scamper put the ball on the Bridgeport 2-yard line, Lawrence then capped the short drive. Martin led the hosts with 97 yards rushing on 16 tries on the night.
After forcing a punt, the Tigers again drove into Indian territory. But a fumble killed the drive just past midfield.
"That was a big turning point in the game," Hott said. "We had all the momentum and we were getting into position to score some more points. When you play Bridgeport, you can't turn the ball over because they will capitalize on your mistakes."
The veteran Elkins coach was correct as the Indians used an 8-play, 53-yard march to tie the contest on Hathaway's 17-yard run on a fourth-and-two play.
Bridgeport found the end zone twice in the third quarter to take a 22-6 lead.
Taking over near midfield after a good return on the second-half kickoff, Hathaway capped off a 5-play drive with a 29-yard run, making it 14-6 with 9:54 left in the third. Hathaway also ran in the two-point conversion.
The Indians increased the lead to 22-6 when Anthony Caldera broke loose for a 29-yard score.
Bridgeport added a pair of touchdown passes from Troy Anderson to Zach Bombardiere and Connor Nelson in the final quarter.
The Tigers' final score came on Ernie Howell's 23-yard run with :57 left.
Bridgeport finished with a 360-190 advantage in total yardage. Caldera and Alex Thorne added 67 and 58 yards, respectively for the winners.
"We need to put this one behind us and get ready for next week," Hott said. "We have a lot of football left in front of us and we can't let one game dictate the rest of the season."
The Tigers will host Philip Barbour on Thursday for a Forest Festival matchup.
"We hope to get big crowds out for the rest of our home games," Hott said. "The crowd we had tonight was terrific and the kids do appreciate the support."
Bridgeport (5-1) will return home next Friday to face University.