SHORT GAP -- This time, the Bridgeport Indians cashed in on their big plays.
Bridgeport got a pair of momentum-gaining plays before its Class AA first round game against No. 3 Frankfort was even seven minutes old to advance to the quarterfinals with a 30-7 win Friday night.
An offense that had been inconsistent at times this season got jump-started early. Sophomore Chris Enourato returned the game's opening kickoff 92 yards for a score, and quarterback B.R. Hathaway kept on a bootleg for a 44-yard touchdown on the Indians' first offensive possession.
From there, Bridgeport's defense did the rest.
"The one thing we really haven't had this season have been big plays," Bridgeport coach Bruce Carey said. "We've been able to move the ball, but we've never had that one big one to pop a game open.
"I thought those two (touchdowns) were really a big key for us getting and holding that momentum."
Enourato's kickoff return was only the second special teams' touchdown of the season for the Indians. Jamin McCue returned a kickoff 80 yards in Bridgeport's season opener against Tyler Consolidated.
Enourato seemed to bobble the kickoff around the 11, kept his poise and bounced to the Indians sideline, going untouched for the score.
"We got two real good blocks and then just had one guy to get by," Enourato said. "I saw that there was no one in front of me and I just kept running.
"I think the only time I've ever done that was in Pop Warner. It was a great feeling, and I think it gave us a lot of confidence."
Unlike its season finale against Weir, Bridgeport's big plays weren't wasted. Two weeks earlier in their 14-7 loss to the Red Riders, the Indians had runs of 38 and 36 yards to go deep into Weir territory but came away with no points.
Hathaway made sure that wasn't going to be the case Friday. With the Falcons defense zeroing in on fullbacks Daniel Hill and McCue and tailback Shawn Adkins, the senior quarterback snuck around the left end, got a devastating block from Brian Reed and went untouched for the score.
"We caught them sort of packing it in to stop the run, and we knew if we could get one outside we could get a big play," Hathaway said. "Brian gave me a great block, and after that, it was just matter of taking it in."
Hathaway's 44-yard run was the longest rushing touchdown of the season for Bridgeport. After that, the Indians got another stellar performance out of their defense.
A Falcons offense that was averaging more than 25 points was held to 156 yards of total offense.
Bridgeport's offense, meanwhile, played nearly mistake free, not turning the ball over and not committing its first penalty until the fourth quarter.
"They put themselves in position to win games," Frankfort coach Mick Lantz said. "They don't turn the ball over, they don't make a whole lot of mistakes and when they get going in that offense, it's hard to get the ball out of their hands.
"They're very well coached. I wouldn't want to play the three teams they lost to."
Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org