BRIDGEPORT, W.Va – Week 4 of high school football was filled with spectacular finishes and Thursday night, the rivalry matchup between Bridgeport and Fairmont Senior was decided in the final moments and provided a full-circle moment for the Indians’ hero.

With Bridgeport driving deep into Polar Bear territory and less than four minutes to play, Zach Rohrig was stopped short on third down. After a timeout, head coach Tyler Phares called on senior kicker Taylor Thomas to try to break a 21-21 tie.

Thomas, who returned for Week 1 in unprecedented time after tearing his ACL and quad last season, stepped into the 37-yard attempt and drilled it for the lead.

His emotions in the lead-up to the kick were certainly mixed.

“Actually I wasn’t in the huddle because I don’t like being around people because they end up telling you ‘you better make it,'” Thomas said.

Once the ball went through the uprights though, his reaction was far different from his feelings when he trotted onto the field.

“I was so happy. I missed two against Morgantown, and then to be able to make this one and help us win, I was excited,” he said.

It was not an easy road back from injury for the senior, but with a cutting-edge medical technique and plenty of hard work, he found himself right where he wanted to be in his team’s biggest moment of the season so far.

“Coming back from the ACL tear was hard. I got a new surgery in Huntington. The doctor’s Chad Lavender. He has a new procedure,” he said, “I was running in three weeks, but after three weeks I ended up tearing my quad when I fell on ice at school, so coming back, that was even harder.”

At the end of the day the big moments are great, but for Thomas, it just feels great to be back out there.

“I was just excited to be able to come back this year,” he said, “Most kids wouldn’t be able to after tearing it that late in the year.”

Taylor Thomas and the Bridgeport Indians are gearing up for another big rivalry matchup this Friday against Robert C. Byrd.