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Carey: Work to do, but 'getting there'

A 3-0 win usually isn't something to get excited about, but Bridgeport's narrow victory over Liberty should be a big boost to a season that had been marked by nothing but frustration.

"We're improving and that's what we're trying to do each week," Indians coach Bruce Carey said. "We're finding (fewer) mistakes each week and that's a good sign.

"We've still got a lot of work to do, but we're getting there. Hopefully, the confidence we're gaining defensively will carry over to our offense."

Bridgeport had one of its best defensive performances in awhile. The Indians held Liberty's prolific passing attack to three completions for 53 yards.

An adjustment to the normal 4-3 defense made a difference. Carey inserted a fifth defensive back, Andre Morman, in place of linebacker Steve Reed. Morman, along with Jared Waugaman, shadowed Liberty's John See every play. Reed, meanwhile, was used to spell linebackers and defensive ends.

The change worked: See was held to one catch and Morman also picked off a pass.

"That was the first time this year we used Andre in a game and he played pretty well," Carey said. "He moved here this summer and we've been trying to bring him along slowly. He's our fastest kid."

Liberty tried 13 passes after averaging 23 the first three games.

"I was really surprised they quit throwing the ball," Carey said. "But they did the right thing, take what we were giving."

Offensively, the Indians topped the 200-yard mark for the first time this season.

But they also were held without a touchdown for the first time since their season-opening loss to Magnolia in 1997.

"Our offensive line held blocks long enough for our fullback to get through, but those holes were closing fast by the time our tailback got there," Carey said. "We need to hold our blocks longer."

Fullback Rodie Heater had a career-high 126 yards on 25 carries. But tailback Waugaman was limited to just 56 yards on 20 attempts.

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TOP GUNS:

n Chris Yura, Morgantown: Rushed for 171 yards and four touchdowns on just six carries, plus returned a punt 74 yards for a TD in a 61-26 win over East Fairmont.

n Ben Hall, South Harrison: Ran 24 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-14 win over Lincoln.

n Rodie Heater, Bridgeport: Helped Bridgeport to its first win with a 25-carry, 126-yard effort against Liberty.

n Drew Toth, South Harrison: Added 108 yards and a TD on 12 rushes for the Hawks.

n Jeremy Wright, Notre Dame: Lincoln transfer rushed for 158 yards on 16 carries in ND's 27-12 loss to Hamlin.

n Luke Struble, Buckhannon-Upshur: Rushed 13 times for 81 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Bucs' 28-12 upset of Elkins.

-- Jeff Lambert, Grafton: Threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Bearcats to their first win of the season, against Robert C. Byrd.

-- Matt Davis, Grafton: caught 5 passes for 94 yards, including the game-winning, 52-yard score.

-- Nathan Fields, Elkins: Completed 12 of 22 passes for 188 yards and 1 score, plus rushed for 29 yards and another TD in loss to B-U.

-- Mike Simon, Elkins: Caught 3 passes for 117 yards.

-- Jeff Noechel, East Fairmont: Hit 13 of 20 passes for 151 yards and 2 scores, also rushed for 34 yards on 3 carries in loss to Morgantown.

-- Adam Cantoni, University: Rushed 22 times for 112 yards in unbeaten Hawks' narrow 7-6 win over Fairmont Senior.

 

GRUNTS:

Bridgeport's running game is slowly but surely coming of age. For the second week in a row, the Indians had a back rush for more than 100 yards.

Most of that yardage has come straight up the middle and senior center Billy Reed is a major reason why.

Although small by high school standards, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Reed makes up for it with strength, intelligence and determination.

"He's been real consistent for us," Bridgeport coach Bruce Carey said. "He's doing the job both ways.

Reed came up with the biggest defensive play of the game against Liberty, stuffing the runner on an option play that stopped the Mountaineers' final drive.

Reed played both defensive end and linebacker.

Teammate Josh Neese also had 19 tackles in addition to going the distance offensively at left guard.

 

 

THIS ÔN' THAT:

There are no longer any unbeaten Big 10 teams, thanks to previously winless Grafton's 20-13 victory over previously unbeaten Robert C. Byrd.

The Eagles held the Bearcats to just 1 yard rushing, but allowed 270 yards passing. Byrd rolled up 229 yards rushing, but failed to convert a fourth-and-3 play inside the Bearcat 10 late in the game.

Grafton has managed just one rushing touchdown in its first four games.

-- He's back: After playing one game for Lincoln, Jeremy Wright transferred back to Notre Dame before the 11th-day deadline. His addition gave the Irish offense a lift, as he averaged nearly 10 yards per carry against Hamlin.

-- It appeared Bridgeport kicker Travis Paul would miss the Indians' game with Liberty following an ankle injury suffered in a soccer game earlier in the week. But he was cleared to play Friday morning and responded with the game-winning field goal, plus a 42.4 average on five punts.

His only practice for the week came during pre-game warmups.

-- Liberty tackle Robert Searcy caught the eye of Bridgeport coach Bruce Carey. Carey called the 6-foot-2, 270-pound senior "really, really good."

The Indians ran away from Searcy as much as possible. "He just clogged everything up," Carey said. "I'm glad he's a senior."

-- Philip Barbour quarterback Eddie Flowers exited last week's game at Herbert Hoover before halftime with a strained eye muscle. He's currently listed as day-to-day.

-- Notre Dame's Joey Aiello has made the most of his six pass receptions this season. The junior wideout is averaging nearly 20 yards per catch and has scored three of the Irish's five touchdowns.

-- West Virginia teams were 9-7 against out-of-state foes last week.