BRIDGEPORT — Morgantown High’s defense came up clutch Friday night in its 22-14 victory against Bridgeport.
More to the point, Jake Anderson and Jaylon Hill — a pair of senior linebackers — made the biggest plays in a game that wasn’t decided until the final seconds.
Anderson returned an interception for a 21-yard touchdown for the deciding score in the third quarter, while Hill recovered Zach Rohrig’s fumble to seal the game with just 1:19 remaining.
“This game had a lot of ups and downs,” Morgantown High head coach Sean Biser said. “It was just a great high school football game between two strong teams.”
Anderson’s pick-six was the clincher, when he intercepted Jack Spatafore’s pass with 2:13 left in the third quarter that gave the Mohigans (2-0) a 22-6 lead.
“I saw we got good pressure on the quarterback, so I was kind of reading all of that,” Anderson said. “I think I saw the ball come out before the receiver did and I just read it and made the play.”
More to the story was Anderson barely made his way to the end zone.
“I was cramping up big time on the play,” he said. “My thigh and my hamstring were hurting. I just read the blocks in front of me and hoped I made it all the way.”
While the pick-six was memorable, it was Anderson who came up big again late in the fourth quarter.
Facing a fourth-and-three at the MHS 31 with just 3:42 left in the game, Bridgeport ran Rohrig — not a bad idea, he finished with 186 yards on 33 carries — on a sweep right at Anderson.
“My coaches were yelling at me right before the play to be ready to contain and get ready for that play,” Anderson said.
Anderson fought off a double-team and strung Rohrig further to the sideline. Once the Bridgeport running back ran out of real estate, he simply made a last-gasp dive for the first down.
“There was a lot of raw emotions right there,” Anderson said. “I knew he was short, but then they measured, and you get a little nervous.”
Rohrig was a yard short, but Bridgeport (1-1) held the Mohigans to a three-and-out on the next possession.
The Indians got the ball back at their own 47 with 2:18 remaining with no timeouts.
Josh Love ran for 11 yards and Rohrig added two more, before his next carry ended with a fumble that Hill scooped up at the bottom of the pile.
“We tell our kids all the time that opportunity comes with each play,” Biser said. “That was Jaylon’s opportunity to make a play, which he did.”
A week after putting up 65 points, the Mohigans’ offense wasn’t as dynamic.
MHS took a 15-0 lead early on touchdown runs from A.J. Thomas and Bobby Powell. Powell’s 1-yard run came on a possession that began after Bridgeport lost 30 yards on a high snap over the punter’s head.
It was Morgantown’s defense that took care of business after that.
“You’ve got to be physical and everyone has to be on the same page when you’re playing these guys,” Anderson said. “We won’t see another team like them again all season. We kept hanging in there and we made just enough plays.”
The victory wrapped up quite a week for Biser, who on Thursday made a surprise visit in front of the WVU football team to help announce his son, Caden, had just earned a scholarship.
“It was a special moment for all of us,” Sean Biser said. “I came out in the uniform and helmet. He told me he thought it was me. He saw my gray beard sticking out.
“I just like the fact he’s been rewarded for all the hard work he’s put in. I know what he puts into it, so it was great just to be a part of that.”
Morgantown 15 0 7 0—22
Bridgeport 0 6 8 0—14
MHS—A.J. Thomas 25 run (Evan Stire run)
MHS—Bobby Powell 1 run (Stire kick)
B—Tanner Hathaway 15 run (run failed)
MHS—Jake Anderson 21 interception return (Stire kick)
B—Zach Rohrig 35 run (Alex Moses run)
RUSHING: Morgantown—Thomas 3-29 TD, Caleb Nutter 9-23, Powell 6-8 TD, Jacob Keir 4-6, Marcus Ullom 3-4, Maddox Bowers 4–(-3), Team 3-(-3). Bridgeport—Rohrig 33-186 TD, Josh Love 10-73, Hathaway 5-30 TD, Team 1-(-30).
PASSING: Morgantown—Bowers 8-12 88. Bridgeport–Jack Spatafore 0-3-1 0.
RECEIVING: Morgantown—Andrew Phares 4-48, Powell 2-24, Thomas 1-16, Keir 1-10. Bridgeport—None.