It’s no secret: Bridgeport wants to run the ball.
The Indians’ long history of prolific running backs will tell you this. Their two tight end, three running back formation will emphasize it. And the old dudes sitting next to you in the press box drooling over every two-yard run and waxing nostalgic about “good old-fashioned football” will beat it to death.
Last Saturday in the second round of the Class AA playoffs, Fairmont Senior attempted to take a page out of Bridgeport’s book — though it certainly wasn’t by their own choosing.
Playing without injured quarterback Austin Norman (not to mention sidelined running back Noah Harmon), the Polar Bears were down to sophomore Dominic Smith at quarterback. While Fairmont Senior coach J.L. Abbott said “he’s going to be a good one for sure,” the coaching staff thought it best not to thrust an underclassman into the fire in a playoff game. Instead, they opted to go with the wildcat formation with Luke Hrapchak receiving the snap.
The 220-pound running back/tight end had been in a similar situation last season at East Fairmont after starting quarterback Ronnie Mills went down with a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. Still, the challenge of redefining an offense in one week ... in the playoffs ... against the No. 2-ranked team in the state proved to be too much of a challenge.
The Polar Bears managed just a single first down in the first half, that on a penalty. Meanwhile, Bridgeport used its slow, methodical offense to eat up clock and field position.
“Bridgeport runs that Stick-I from pee wee to high school. They say that if you do something over 1,000 times, you master it,” senior lineman Vincent Delligatti said. “Heck, we just put that offense in in a week.”
At the beginning of the season, Bridgeport coach Josh Nicewarner said that if the Indians averaged three to four yards per carry, they’d be a tough team to beat. As it turned out, running back Anthony Bonamico has averaged more than 12 yards per carry this season.
You can decide for yourself how difficult that makes Bridgeport to beat in the final rounds of the playoffs. Friday, when Bonamico carried the ball 28 times for 212 yards, it turned into a 28-0 victory for the Indians.
The result had some on the Polar Bears wondering what would have been if their 2,000-yard passer and 1,000-yard rusher could have played.
“It hurt a little bit just to see all the work that they put in and that I put in over the course of the football season and then to not be able to help them get the win,” Norman said. “I think we could have gotten some things rolling on offense, and that could have changed things up a lot.”
Delligatti agreed: “If we had both of them, who knows?”
Hrapchak, meanwhile, took a more measured approach.
“We can speculate that,” he said. “But it is what it is.”
Despite the loss in the final game of the season, the Polar Bears accomplished a great deal, namely turning a .500 football team in 2012 into a playoff contender.
“Expectations at Fairmont Senior are always high,” Abbott said. “You never want to end a season on a loss. We won nine games this season. Did we have a winning season? Yes. Did we have success? Yes. Did we accomplish our ultimate goal? No. I take my hat off, especially to our 15 seniors.”
After a pause, he added, “Now we’ve got next season.”
Email Mike DeFabo at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.
It’s no secret: Bridgeport wants to run the ball.
North Marion goes 2-for-2; Fairmont Senior 0-for-2 in tournament
A day after an 11-0 mercy-rule victory at Philip Barbour, the North Marion Huskies were at it again.
Chelsi Latocha threw three no-hit innings, Shelby King drove in five runs in the first inning and the Huskies rolled to a 20-0 victory over the winless Fairmont Senior Polar Bears in the Diamond Dawg Tournament at North Marion High School.
Brewers’ Lohse beats Pirates again
Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
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Bucs trade for Mets’ Ike Davis
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Penguins wary of Blue Jackets after Game 1 escape
Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
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East’s Postlewait, North’s Latocha toss no-hitters
Tori Postlewait made a deal with her great-uncle, Kenny Carpenter, before her freshman season.
If the Bees’ pitcher tossed a no-hitter, Carpenter promised to give her $20.
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East tennis splits with Polar Bears
Fairmont Senior and East Fairmont split a pair of tennis matches Thursday, with Fairmont Senior winning the boys’ match and East Fairmont taking the girls’ competition.
In the Bees’ 6-1 girls’ victory, Cara Laswell took second singles, 8-2. Erica Gorman won third singles, 8-1. And Carrington Reese won fourth singles, 8-3.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules
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McCutchen, Alvarez lead Pirates over Brewers
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Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma
Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.
FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing
Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
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