SHORT GAP -- Bridgeport's run in Class AA isn't over yet.
The No. 14 Indians, who will move up to Class AAA next season, got a 92-yard opening kickoff touchdown return from Chris Enourato to set the tone in a 30-7 upset victory over No. 3 Frankfort Friday night in the first round of the state high school football playoffs.
Bridgeport will now face the winner of today's Mt. View-Tyler Consolidated matchup next weekend.
"I think getting this win showed we can beat some good teams," Bridgeport quarterback B.R. Hathaway said. "We lost to three teams who are all in the playoffs and none of them scored more than 14 points on us.
"If you look back, we made mistakes in all of those games that really hurt us."
Mistakes were few and far between for the Indians Friday.
For the third consecutive game, Hathaway led the Indians in rushing, finishing with a game-high 114 yards on 16 carries. His 44-yard touchdown run with 7:13 remaining in the second quarter put the Indians ahead 14-0.
"B.R. is just as dangerous a weapon at quarterback as any of our running backs are," Bridgeport coach Bruce Carey said.
"I think he's done a good job of being a team leader. He's not an in-your-face kind of guy, but he's able to keep everyone calm in the huddle."
The victory improved Carey to 9-5 in the postseason. It was the Indians' third victory over the Falcons in as many playoff games.
"That's not a typical No. 14-seed team. They get man-on-man blocking, double your linebacker and before you know it, that tailback's in your secondary," Frankfort coach Mick Lantz said. "They just keep running out the clock and they do a good job executing it."
Enourato set up the Indians' final first half score with an interception and return to the Frankfort 34 with 1:00 remaining. Seven plays later, Kash Kiefer connected on a 21-yard field goal, his first of the season.
The Falcons, who had only been held to less than 10 points once in the regular season, cut the lead to 17-7 on Sam Castillo's 53-yard touchdown run with 4:55 left in the third.
The Indians, however, answered with a grind-it-out, clock-consuming drive that drained 7:09 of the clock and ended on Hathaway's 19-yard touchdown run with 9:46 to play. Bridgeport kept the drive alive on fourth down from its own 44 when Hathaway took a direct snap lined up in punt formation and picked up six yards.
The Falcons would never recover.
The Indians' Patrick Echard ended Frankfort's hopes when he intercepted a pass to set up Bridgeport's final score. Nine plays later, Shawn Adkins bounced a handoff to the left sidelines for a 9-yard touchdown with 3:11 left.
"The one thing that seemed to elude us this year was the big play," Carey said. "Tonight we got them against a real good team.
"Enourato's kickoff gave us the momentum and we never really lost it after that."
Regardless the Tyler-Mt. View winner, Bridgeport will be on the road in the second round of the playoffs. A Tyler Consolidated victory sets up a rematch of the two team's opening game this season. Tyler won that contest 8-7.
Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail a firstname.lastname@example.org