BRIDGEPORT, W.Va – If you’ve been around high school football in north central West Virginia for long enough, you know what Bridgeport Indians football is all about.
Armed with head coach Tyler Phares’ single wing offense, Bridgeport is grinding opponents down to the tune of over 2000 rushing yards in just six games, including 356 in Friday’s upset of number-one ranked Parkersburg South.
Paving the way up front is a group of five lineman, and a steady dose of two tight ends, that keep a clear picture in their minds of how important they are to their team’s success.
“We know that the ball won’t move without the line so it’s all in the hard work and knowing that if we want to win, we have to try our best basically to get the line of scrimmage moved because if it don’t go up, the ball ain’t going up,” tight end Aidan Sparks said.
Phares takes pride in his group up front, made up of center Quinn DeMotto, guards Mario Galindo and Beau Ford, tackles Wes Brown and Kamar Summers, and ends Sparks and Camden Hess.
When it comes to preparing them for arguably the most important job on the field in this offense, it takes a little bit of extra work getting ready to take on physicality on every snap when Friday comes.
“We practice hard every day. We come in and we’re hitting, no matter what. We’re hitting on Thursdays, Mondays, any day so going through games is not that hard,” Summers said.
With seniors in Galindo, Summers and DeMotto on the line plus another at end in Hess, once they strap the pads on each day, every player in a red and white jersey has their ears open when the guys up front have something to say.
“They are the leaders on the team this year. We’ve got kids that show up and do the right things every day,” Phares said, “Our backs know how difficult it is to be a lineman around here, so they definitely look up to those guys and they see the work that they put in and whenever they open their mouths or say anything, everyone’s listening.”
In a program with as much history and respect for the past as Bridgeport, it’s easy to find players who look back on fond memories of watching teams of years gone by and aspiring to be where they are now.
For these Indians though, there comes an extra sense of pride to be among those in the trenches making Bridgeport football happen just as it has for so long.
“It’s something special, man, especially growing up with youth all my life. I’ve been looking up to these guys,” Ford said, “I’ve been looking forward to playing high school football here for a minute so to know that I’m one of the older guys, one of the leaders that everyone looks to on the field, it’s a really nice opportunity and it’s kind of like fulfilling a little dream of mine.”
With their ball carriers averaging better than seven yards per carry on the season, the Bridgeport offensive line has paved the way to plenty of success on the field for others but this week they paved their way to Harry Green Athlete of the Week honors.