Single Wing Soars in Ona as No. 8 Indians Knocks Off No. 1 Cabell Midland to Advance to Semifinals

By Chris Johnson on November 17, 2023 via

 For the second time in as many years, Cabell Midland had no answer for Bridgeport's single wing offense as the Class AAA No. 8 Indians rolled over the No. 1 Knights, 41-21, Friday night in Ona.
The Indians, now 11-1, advance to the semifinals where they will face No. 5 Princeton, a 41-37 winner against No. 13 Parkerburg Friday night. The game will more than likely be Friday night at H.P. Hunnicutt Field in Princeton. But the time and date for the game won't be finalized until Sunday.
BHS finished with 366 rushing yards and had three players surpass 100 yards on the ground in the game for the first time since the a 2021 quarterfinal victory against Jefferson.
Kennedy Award candidate Zach Rohirg scored a pair of touchdowns and finished with 103 yards on 21 carries. Josh Love had 113 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown. Tim Jeffress led the Tribe with 119 yards on nine carries and a TD. And for good measure, Alex Moses added 37 yards on seven carries and a touchdown.
“First of all that’s a great football team,” Rohrig said. “They were No. 1 for a reason. We beat them last year at home and we knew it was going to be a tough game at their place.”
Up eight at halftime, the Indians put togther a 14-play scoring drive to start the third quarter that ate up more than 7 minutes off the clock. Moses capped it with a 5-yard touchdown run to make it 28-13 and the Indians cruised from there.
“We knew if we punched the ball in the end zone right there it would be tough for them to recover,” Rohrig said.
If that wasn’t the nail in the coffin for the Knights, who end the season at 10-2, the next drive almost certainitly was.
Bridgeport’s Cale Culicerto intercepted his fourth pass of the season and 12 plays later, Rohirg was into the end zone with a 6-yard touchdown run. The Indians’ defense proceeded to force a turnover on downs and after a run of 16 from Jeffress a gain of six from Moses, Rohrig scored on a 9-yard run, his 23rd touchdown of the season.
Cabell Midland’s prolific 1-2 punch of quarterback Robert Shockey and tailback Curtis Jones had their moments in the game but there weren’t nearly enough of them. Shockey did throw a late 56-yard touchdown pass to Landon Nida that made it 41-21 before the Indians ran out the clock to secure the victory.
Shockey finished with 87 yards on the ground and a touchdown to go along with 169 through the air on 8-of-22 passing. Jones had 69 yards on 11 carries and a score.
“I think they got a little frustrated and got away from what they are really good at,” BHS coach Tyler Phares said. “It was huge for us because their veer is scary. To get them more in a passing situation, benefited us.”
Jones or Shockey got the carry on each of the first eight plays for the Knights. Shockey picked up a big first down on a fourth-and-1 pickup of 2 yards from the BHS 45. The next snap saw Jones break loose and outrun the BHS secondary for a 43-yard touchdown run.
There was a bad snap however on the PAT so the Knights’ lead stood at 6-0.
For the second time in as many weeks, Jeffress had the leadoff homerun for the BHS offense as he took a counter from his wing spot for a 57-yard touchdown run. Last week he had a 65-yard TD run for the Indians’ first score against George Washington.
“He’s got great speed,” Phares said of Jeffress. “He blocks well, he’s a big time threat on the backside. People have to look out for him for sure.”
Freshman Gavin Williams followed Jeffress’ sixth touchdown of the season with the first of his xx PAT kicks to give the Indians a 7-6 lead over Cabell Midland with 7:10 left in the first quarter.
The Indians held strong on defense against the Knights and forced a turnover on downs. They proceeded to put together an 11-play drive that ened with Josh Love’s 1-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 14-6.
BHS appeared on the verge of coming up with another big defensive stand but Shockey lofted a 46-yard pass to Myles Meadors on third-and-long to move the chains. The QB then got into the end zone with a 15-yard scoring run. Following the PAT kick from Tony Hornbuckle, the Knights trailed just 14-13 with about 9 minutes left before halftime.
The two schools traded punts before the Indians put together an 11-play scoring drive that started with 5:30 showing on the clock and ended with 47 seconds left. Coming out of a timeout, Jack Spatafore connected with Donovan Williams in the back of the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown pass.
“That was a huge play,” Rohrig said. “Everybody thinks of us as this hard-nosed running team and we are but we have some guys that can throw it and catch it.”
It was the fourth TD pass of the season for Spatafore and third TD reception for Williams.
The Knights got into field goal range before the half ended, but Hornbuckle’s 43-yard attempt was no good as the clock expired.
The Indians did not have an accepted penalty in the game and they didn’t have a turnover for the third straight game.
“We wanted to be as clean as possible and play a clean football game,” Phares said. “We needed to play a clean football game if we wanted to win. I’m proud of the kids and their discipline.
“We felt like we were better than a No. 8 seed and I think we proved that tonight.”
Next week will mark the 12th time in 13 years the Indians have advanced to the semifinals. They had an 11-year streak going before being knocked out in the quarterfinals in 2022 by Martinsburg.
Rohrig moved to within 22 yards of Corey Wagner for the No. 3 spot on the school’s all-time rushing yardage list. Rohrig now has 1,712 yards this year and 3,561 in his career and trails only Jake Bowen, Steve Stout and Wagner.
Love also reached a milestone against the Knights as he joined  Rohrig as a 1,000-yard rusher. He needed 63 coming in and now has 1,050 on the year and 16 touchdowns.
Editor's Note: Top photo shows Rohrig, second photo is of Culicerto, third photo features Rohrig and Love and bottom photo is of Williams. Photos by Joe LaRocca.

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