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Photo/KRISTIN MAZGAJ BRIDGEPORT quarterback Tino Kusic scrambles for yards against Clarksburg Notre Dame Saturday night at the Dave Bruney Football Complex in Martins Ferry. The Bulldogs lost, 27-6.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to get him and his Bridgeport Bulldogs their first victory of the season Saturday evening at a rain-soaked Dave Bruney Football Complex.
The Bulldogs struggled to get untracked offensively against Clarksburg Notre Dame who used a solid ground game and mixed in three big plays by virtue of the passing game en route to a 27-6 victory.
“We’re just going through some growing pains,” Ray said. “I see little things that we’re doing better, which is a positive, but we simply lack experience in some key areas.”
The Bulldogs weren’t able to get much traction offensively not because of weather issues, but because Irish defenders were constantly in the backfield chasing talented senior quarterback Tino Kusic all over the place.
The Bulldogs hung in there, but couldn’t get a key stop on a handful of third downs thanks to a Notre Dame running game, which got the call 47 times for 223 yards. The Irish spread the ball around, too.
No fewer than eight different players had at least two carries. While the ground game kept the Bulldogs on their heels, it was those passing plays, which proved to be the big difference.
“They really swung the momentum in their favor with those big passes in the first half,” Ray continued. “If you take away those things, maybe it’s a different ballgame.”
Senior quarterback Nathan Helm, who transferred to Notre Dame from Robert C. Byrd, completed threw a 28-yard touchdown to Samuel Romano and then in the second quarter he delivered a beautifully thrown ball to freshman Jaidyn West for a 45-yard score to take a 14-0 lead into halftime.
The Irish blew the game open in the third quarter. Sophomore Gabriel Lopez scored the lone Irish rushing touchdown from 2 yards out and on its next possession, Notre Dame went back to the air. The Helm to Romano combination worked again from 18 yards out.
Bridgeport scored with 7:21 to play in the game when Kusic scrambled around and found senior Trevonn Ray open from 3 yards out.
All told, Kusic rushed for a team-high 74 yards on 20 carries. Jaylon Addison added 48 on 15 carries.
“We have good, quality kids, but (gaining) experience takes time,” Ray said. “It’s going to be a game-by-game thing for us and we just have to go back to work and keep building.”
Bridgeport is at ‘home’ again next Saturday when it welcomes winless Paden City to Purple Rider Stadium.