Bridgeport preps for Top 10 road matchup versus Princeton


BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – It seems like it’s been a while since No. 6 Bridgeport (6-0) stepped on the field for a true contest.

The Indians haven’t played a true game since they defeated Preston two weeks ago by a score of 72-0, and surrounding that was a scrimmage against East Fairmont and then an off week last week.

A huge test is looming this Friday, though, for the well-rested Indians, who travel to Mercer County to take on the undefeated Princeton Tigers (5-0).

“They’re a spread team. They’re a inside, outside zone team. They can throw the ball fairly well. The throw the ball intermediate, they quick screen. A little bit of everything, so we definitely got to be prepared,” said Bridgeport head coach Tyler Phares.

It’ll be the first-ever meeting between the two schools, despite both programs dating back to the 1920s.

That’s where the similarities stop, though, as Bridgeport has more than 700 wins as a program, while the Tigers own a all-time record that’s below .500. Princeton has also never made it past the second round of the postseason.

With two teams, and two fanbases, so unfamiliar to one another, we asked Phares if Princeton is comparable to any of the Indians’ regular opponents.

“You get a little bit of Fairmont Senior vibe. They don’t run the ball outside as much as Fairmont did; quarterback run doesn’t run nearly as much. Zone team, intermediate, passing game looks a lot like Fairmont,” said Phares.

Despite the lack of familiarity between the two sides, and the lack of winning tradition on the opposing side, this will be one of the biggest games in the state this weekend.

Both Bridgeport and Princeton will be featured in the Top 10 of the latest WVSSAC high school football rankings when they are released on Tuesday. The Indians were No. 6 last week, and Princeton was one spot above them at No. 5.

Both teams are undefeated, though Bridgeport has been much more convincing in its outcomes so far this season.

However, the Indians have only played one game this month.
Asked how he’s been keeping his club sharp over the last few weeks, Phares pointed to the benefits of scrimmaging East Fairmont a few weeks ago.

“It was definitely a good depth builder. We were working on things we normally wouldn’t do, trying to throw some different tags in there. Got some good film,” said Phares. “I mean, we looked at it as essentially a practice. It was a good thing to build depth, and have the twos in there with the ones some, and vice versa. So, we’re excited.”

As it stands now, this is the biggest test left on Bridgeport’s schedule, at least for the regular season.

If Phares’ team can pass it, the Indians will more than likely enter the postseason undefeated for the first time since 2016.

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