BRIDGEPORT — The No. 2 Bridgeport Indians secured a spot in the WVSSAC State Semifinals for the 9th consecutive season on Saturday afternoon at Wayne Jamison Stadium as they defeated visiting Mingo Central by a final score of 28-8.
The Indians (11-1) got on the board first as linebacker Carson Winkie picked off a Daylin Goad pass inside the Indian five-yard line and returned it untouched 97-yards to the house. Austin Springer’s PAT was good, and Bridgeport took the 7-0 lead with 3:00 to play in the opening quarter.
After forcing a three-and-out on the next Miner drive, the Indians mounted a long, clock-chewing drive deep into Mingo Central territory. They capped it off with a 16-yard sprint by quarterback Devin Vandergrift and took a 14-0 lead with 8:08 left in the opening half.
The Miners (9-3) threatened to score again before the end of the first half as they moved the ball inside the Indian 10-yard line but they came up short once again as Goad’s fourth down pass to Devin Hatfield took him out of bounds and was called incomplete and the Indians took the 14 point lead into the break.
Coach Josh Sammons’ club got the ball first to start the second half with a chance to trim the lead to one score but they were unable to do so as they attempted a fake punt on fourth and 15 from their own 45-yard line and turned the ball over on downs.
Drew Hatfield, the No. 1 receiver in the state statistical wise, was also injured on the play and never returned to the game. He finished the game with five catches for 16 yards.
Head coach John Cole’s club extended their lead to three scores as Winkie found pay dirt on the next drive from 2 yards away with 1:58 left in the third quarter. Mingo Central answered on their next drive as Goad hit Devin Hatfield on a screen pass and the speedy receiver raced 59-yards to the house for the score. The Miners went for two and Goad found Hatfield again as the lead was trimmed to 21-8 with 1:30 to go in the third.
The Miner defense made a big stand on their next drive as they stopped Bridgeport on a fourth down at the 28-yard line to take the ball over on downs.
Needing a score to cut the lead to one possession, the Miners were facing a fourth down of their own inside Bridgeport territory and a Goad pass hit Norman Kennedy in the hands and fell incomplete to the turf with under eight minutes to play.
With all momentum now on their side, the Indians stuck the dagger in the heart of the Miners as Vendergrift took it 59-yard to the house on the first play from scrimmage. Springer’s PAT was good once again as the Indians took the 28-8 lead with 6:57 to play.
The overall yardage was similar as Bridgeport totaled only 257 yards, all coming on the ground, compared to Mingo Central’s 274 yards. Winkie led Bridgeport in yardage with 102 on 26 carries while Vandergrift added 91 yards on eight carries and two scores.
Goad finished 26-52 passing for 252 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Isa Scales led the Miners with 13 catches for 98 yards and Devin Hatfield added six receptions for 109 yards and a score. The Miners committed the two turnovers in the game compared to zero for Bridgeport.
Mingo Central sees their season come to a close at 9-3 while the Indians improve to 11-1 and advance to the WVSSAC Class AA Semifinal. The Indians will host undefeated Oak Glen in the semifinal round after the Golden Bears upset No. 3 seed Poca in the quarterfinal found. Time and date will be announced on Sunday. The Miners had another impressive year offensively, breaking and setting many receiving records along the way. Goad finished the year completing 65% of his passes for 3446 yards and 30 TDs. The yardage is first in the Mountain State and the TDs are also tied for first.
Senior Drew Hatfield was his most-targeted receiver, finishing the year with 124 receptions for 1870 yards and 20 TDs to put an exclamation mark on a stellar high school career. As a result, he set state records for 10 game regular season receptions (previously 99, now 115) and yards (previously 1443, now 1795), previously held by Nitro’s Chris Fulmer. For his career, he broke Fulmer’s career records for receptions (previously 329, now 343), yards (previously 5068, now 5168), and yards per game (previously 146.8, now 155.8) as well.
In doing so, Drew joins the NFHS national ranks in many categories, putting his name in the record books with many well-known NFL and college standouts. National ranks:
- 13th (Receptions in a Season) (132)
- Fourth (Receptions in a Career) (343)
- Seventh (Receiving Yards in a Career) (5168)
- Fourth (Receiving Yards / game) (155.8)
- Seventh (Receiving TDs in a Career) (64)
Other than Hatfield, the Miners will also say goodbye to seniors Ryan DeBoard, Preston Dingess, Tanner Cisco, Westan Christian, Jacob Lester, Cody Dotson, Branson Nagy, J.D. Brewer, Harrison Mardon, and Levi Davis.
Score by quarter
MCHS (9-3): 0 0 8 0 — 8
BHS (11-1): 7 7 7 7 — 28
BHS: 97-yard interception return Winkie (Springer PAT Good) 3:00
BHS: 16-yard run Vandergrift (Springer PAT Good) 8:08
BHS: 2-yard run Winkie (Springer PAT Good) 1:58
MCHS: 59-yard pass Goad to Dev. Hatfield (Pass to Dev. Hatfield) 1:30
BHS: 59-yard run Vandergrift (Springer PAT Good) 6:57