BRIDGEPORT, W.Va – The game of football at its core can be broken down to some very basic ideas and that’s especially true for the Bridgeport Indians who have built quite the historic program through a focus on the basics.

That’s not something that’s going to change any time soon.

“We lost a good few linemen last year but we have just as many guys stepping up, some younger, some returning but blocking, tackling, that’s what really makes this team and we’ve always got guys that are ready to do it,” senior tight end Cam Hess said.

That is music to the ears of now-second-year head coach Tyler Phares who took over the program a year ago and led the Indians to the state semifinals.

With his leadership came a switch from the stick-I to the single wing offense and the progression in the newer system has been pleasing so far.

“We’re definitely further ahead. We had older backs last year so we’ve got some younger guys that have stepped in but they had reps through JV and freshman running the single wing but they’re going to need a few games to get some reps under their belt,” he said.

The key to any run-heavy offense like Bridgeport has become so well-known for over the years is a deep stable of backs to tote the rock and keep everybody fresh.

With several departures from last year’s backfield including Cam Cole and Landyn Reppert who each ran for over 1500 yards a year ago, there will be some new faces running the ball but there is confidence in this group coming together.

“What we got going right now is a nice rotation so I’ll go in and if I need a break we got another guy going in so right off the bat we got a nice rotation so we’re kind of fresh at all times” senior running back Ty Martin said.

No matter who carries the ball for Bridgeport this year, the tone setters are going to be the guys in the trenches.

As much as they are relied on for the offense to move the ball, the Indians offensive line is up to the taks year in and year out and they know what it takes to get things where they need to go.

“When you get to set the tone, you can set it at a high standard or you can go to a low standard. Me, I’m going to set it at the highest possible so we’re hitting every day. Everybody’s getting pancaked and everything,” senior offensive lineman Kamar Summers said.

Once again, the focus for the Indians settles on the key aspacts of the game: blocking and tackling. Bridgeport, as it has so often in years past, is setting out to punish its opponents physically once they step between the lines.

“We’re really into hitting this year. Every practice all these guys are ready to go,” Hess said, “We’re ready to crack and especially next Friday, that’s what we’re really looking forward to. Hitting a different jersey is a different feeling for these guys.”

Bridgeport opens the season at home this Friday against Buckhannon-Upshur.