Defense Joins Offense as Bridgeport Steamrolls its Way Past Huskies 49-16 at Wayne Jamison Field

By Jeff Toquinto on October 05, 2018 via

In a game where Bridgeport put nearly 50 points on the scoreboard, it was the defense that left Coach John Cole the happiest. Thanks to some big plays by the Indians defense and equally big plays by the offense, North Marion never had a chance.
The combination allowed the Tribe to roll to a 49-16 win this evening in Big 10 Conference action at Wayne Jamison Field.
North Marion finished with 219 yards of offense in the game, but the Tribe rarely allowed the Huskies anything of significance. Whether it was the defensive line getting sacks or the linebackers and secondary collecting interceptions, the Indians had the answers every time it was needed.
“I wanted us to play well on defense because I knew we had a good offense coming in here. (Defensive coordinator) Coach (Adam) King and the other defensive coaches did a good job of getting the kids ready for what they were going to see,” said Cole. “I thought the defensive line sort of controlled things and that was huge. We haven’t seen that and we had a couple of things go our way.”
The things that went their way ended up being led by senior Jake Bowen. Bowen not only had his typical game on the ground with 163 yards on 15 carries for three touchdowns, but he also managed to get two interceptions and return one of them for a score as well.
Both of Bowen’s picks came in the first quarter. Last year, Bowen had three interceptions in the first half, which gives him five interceptions in three quarters against the Huskies in the last two seasons.
“It’s ironic,” said a happy Cole of the situation with Bowen’s picks.
Irony, however, had nothing to do with the final score. Instead, it was a well-rounded effort by the Tribe that put them up 42-0 before reserves did the final scoring late in the third and throughout the fourth quarter for both teams.
Bridgeport would finish the game with 423 yards of offense. Of that total, 377 of the yards came on the ground.
“Our offensive line and our running backs, boy did they block and boy did they run,” said Cole.
Along with Bowen, the Indians’ Trey Pancake had a huge outing. He finished with 93 yards on 13 carries along with two touchdowns from his fullback spot.
“(Offensive coordinator) Coach (Tyler) Phares knew we had to get the ball to the fullback some. He’s done a good job of making our coaching staff disciplined about running inside traps and getting those quick hitters and we’ve been successful since week one with that,” said Cole. “When teams have to worry about (Trey) and Jake, that’s what we want.”
BHS had plenty of offense in the first half as it scooted out to a 28-0 advantage. Getting there didn’t necessarily seem to be the case when the game began.
North Marion seemed to have things going the way it wanted on its first drive of the game. Starting at their own 34, the Huskies mixed the pass and the run in a fashion that had the Tribe off balance. In fact, NMHS used 10 plays to make it all the way to Bridgeport’s 16 before disaster struck in the form of Bowen.
Bowen leaped up to snag in the first of those two first quarter interceptions and returned it 10 yards to the Bridgeport 23.
“They were driving. I think we could have stopped them, but that was a huge play,” said Cole.
It would take a while before Bridgeport would take advantage of the miscue. The Indians needed five plays to get the ball to midfield where Cole opted to go for it on fourth down needing a short two yards. The decision would pay off.
Bouncing off the right side of the line, Bowen would easily get the first down. The problem for the Huskies was that Bowen kept going and didn’t stop until going 50 yards for a touchdown.
Evan Ogden’s point-after kick made it 7-0 with 5:33 showing on the first quarter clock. It wouldn’t take long for the lead to increase.
After the Huskies got the ball back, they immediately went to the air. And they would be immediately in trouble.
Once again, Bowen was in the right place when the ball came his way. In fact, he made the pick at the 35 of the visitors and went into the end zone untouched to help get the score to 14-0 with 5:16 showing in the first quarter.
The Indians came right back on their next possession to widen the gap. This time, the Indians used a 14-play, 56-yard drive that included a pair of fourth down conversions and ended when Bowen bowled in from a yard out with 8:23 to play before halftime to help put his team up 21-0.
The three-score lead came at just about the same time as last week when BHS went up by the same margin against Buckhannon-Upshur. And like last week, North Marion went on an offensive march when it was down by three touchdowns
This time, however, the Indians didn’t break. Starting at their own 28, the Huskies went all the way to the Bridgeport 22 before things fizzled. This time, it would be D’Andre Hollaway doing the honors by snagging an errant pass and returning it 17 yards to the BHS 27.
“It was a little bit of a rollout on that play, but we had kids coming off blocks, seeing what was going on and putting a little pressure and made the quarterback maybe throw off his back foot; I don’t know. He looked a little pressed and D’Andre made a great play,” said Cole.
Again, the turnover would turn into points. This time, BHS used nine plays that featured a heavy dose of Pancake to cover 73 yards in eight plays. Pancake, who had a 23-yard scoring run called back by way of penalty, finally did the honors from one yard out with 51.7 seconds left. Following the final of four Ogden first half point-after kicks, it was 28-0 BHS and the score stood at the intermission.
Bowen led the Indians with 111 yards on 12 first half carries, which included the three touchdowns. Pancake added 60 yards on 10 runs. The team finished with 180 yards on the ground and Devin Vandergrift completed both of his passes for 34 yards passing for a total of 214 yards of offense.
Defensively, it was one of the Indians’ better first half showings. The Huskies, despite two first half drives that yielded no points, finished with 102 yards of offense that featured 53 yards on the ground and 49 through the air.
Any thoughts of a second half letdown faded on the first drive of the third. BHS needed just four plays before Pancake would barrel in from six yards out for a 35-0 advantage with 10:12 to go.
Although North Marion would mount a serious drive on its next serious, the defense continually put the guests in bad positions. A combination sack by Garrett Crumbliss, Austin Sponaugle and Bowen early in the drive and a fourth down sack by J.R. Coburn to end the drive were the key plays by the Tribe’s defense.
It wouldn’t take long for Bridgeport to essentially end it by going up 42-0.  Bowen capped a four-play, 58-yard drive with a 14-yard run at the 5:01 mark of the third.
After that, North Marion would score twice. The Huskies Tim “Gunner” Murphy connected on a 12-yard TD pass to Ethan Mays at the 2:44 mark of the third followed by a two-point conversion run to make it 42-8.
Bridgeport would answer with an Austin Gibson score on the next series. Gibson, filling in at tailback, looked more than comfortable with several big runs. The final of those runs was good for 11 yards and six points and what turned into a 49-8 score at the 10:08 mark of the fourth. The final of seven successful point-after kicks by Ogden would also be the final Bridgeport points of the game.
North Marion would add a score on its next drive. Ricky Newbrough blasted in from one yard out and another successful two-point conversion produced the final score.
Desmond Fluharty led the North Marion attack with 69 yards rushing on 12 carries. Murphy finished 6-of-12 passing for 102 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Bridgeport returns to action next Friday in its final home game of the 2018 season. The Indians will host Elkins at 7 p.m. on Senior Night.
The Huskies will also play next Friday. NMHS will visit Big 10 Conference foe Lewis County.
Game time is 7 p.m. for both contests.

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