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Football: Cameron Denied in Playoff Bid by Bridgeport

October 29, 2011
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register


For The Intelligencer

BROOKSIDE - The 2011 football season didn't quite go the way Bridgeport would've liked it to, but the seniors will have fond memories of their final contest.

Amassing nearly 550 yards of total offense, the Bulldogs (4-6) rushed past Cameron, 41-13, on Friday night on the muddy Perkins Field turf at Bill Jobko Stadium on a chill-filled Senior Night.

''These guys have been a large part of our program,'' Bridgeport coach Rudy Vavrock said of his senior class, which had qualified for the Division VI playoffs in their previous three campaigns. ''They've won a lot of games here, and it's nice for them to go out with a win.''

All but 89 of those yards came via the ground as the hosts ran the ball 45 times for 444 yards and four touchdowns by four different ballcarriers.

Leading the way was elusive junior Dallas Fields, who ran for a career-high 165 yards on 11 carries, with 82 of those coming on the first play of the third quarter.

''Dallas gave us a glimpse of the future,'' Vavrock said. ''I thought, as the season progressed, that he started to turn it on and he seemed to get more comfortable.''

Senior quarterback Cole Smelley accounted for 245 total yards as he ran 11 times for 156 yards and a TD. He eclipsed the 1,000-yard barrier midway through the second quarter and finished his final season with 1,076. In addition, he completed 5 of 6 passes for 89 and another touchdown.

''Cole has had a great career for us,'' Vavrock said of his four-year quarterback who started 45 of his 46 contests (he missed last week's game with an ankle injury). ''We really wanted him to get the 1,000 yards, so we're glad for him.''

Behind the potent running attack, the Bulldogs led 14-0 after one quarter, 27-0 at the half and 41-0 at the end of three periods before the Dragons (5-5) scored twice in the final chapter.

Smelley got the scoring under way with a 20-yard jaunt and then hit Fields in stride on a 45-yard hookup. Senior Thomas Flowers bulled his way in from 5 yards out in the second 12-minute period and Smelley went over from 6 yards.

Fields then broke loose on his 82-yard sprint and senior Mike Dalto plunged in from 2 yards out for the final Bridgeport score. Bailey McGrath kicked three extra points and Smelley ran for a 2-point conversion.

''They made us look slow,'' Cameron coach Jim Rogers said. ''They manhandled us up front and that is where it all starts. They outplayed us in every aspect.''

The game got off to a good start for the visitors as they drove to the Bridgeport 23 before suffering a driving-ending interception by Cody Frey inside the 10.

''That has happened to us in the games we've lost this season,'' Rogers said. ''We preach and preach to these guys about how important that first drive is. If we put that one in, I think we've got some momentum going.

''My hat is off to Bridgeport though. They are not really a 4-6 team. They are a darn good football team. I just wished we had played better.''

Bridgeport's defense, led by Dalto, held Cameron in check for the most part, limiting the Dragons to minus-26 yards rushing on 17 carries.

Cameron's passing attack clicked for the most part, picking up 283 yards on 19 completions by senior Ryan Hughes. He teamed with Jordan Hart on a 37-yard scoring strike and Austin Warsinsky ran 1 yard for the Dragons' touchdowns.

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