Irish defense records second consecutive shutout in 27-0 victory over Bridgeport

Alex Davies (12) of St. Pat’s defends against Mason Nichols of Bridgeport on Friday at Knights of Columbus Field in North Platte.

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

On Friday, St. Pat’s used its bruising running game, sprinkled in the passing game and got another dominant effort from its defense for a 27-0 Homecoming win over Bridgeport.

The win marks the third consecutive Irish win and gets there record back to .500. More importantly, the Irish are now 2-0 in district play and have momentum heading into a challenging road contest at Mitchell.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Irish found their footing on a cool, damp night scoring 27 unanswered points in the second and third quarters on the way to victory.

"We had a slow start, but thought we finished well and the boys played hard tonight," St. Pat’s head coach Kevin Dodson said.

Defense has been instrumental in the Irish turnaround.

In the last three weeks, St. Pat’s has allowed a total of seven points and have posted shutouts two straight weeks.

On Friday, defensive coordinator Brent Aufdenkamp’s group held Bridgeport to just 85 total yards of offense, including just 50 yards on the ground.

"Defensively, we’re playing pretty well, especially against the run," Dodson said. "We thought there was a chance Bridgeport could catch us off guard, but I thought for the most part our guys really did a nice job of responding to what they saw on the field."

Offensively, St. Pat’s unofficially gained a total of 370 yards, 280 coming on the ground.

The Irish were again led by thunder-and-lightning combo of Charles Aufdenkamp and Gaven Nutter.

Aufdenkamp powered his way to 65 yards on 15 carries, and a pair of physical 1-yard touchdown plunges, while Nutter carried it 24 times for 205 yards and a touchdown. The sophomore — who’s stepped in for the injured Charlie Gale — used his elusiveness as even more of a weapon as the field got wetter as the mist continued.

The Irish passing game — which just missed a couple big completions last week against Hershey — made good on those Friday.

Senior quarterback Dolan Branch found Jack Heiss for a 49-yard completion, setting up a 1-yard touchdown from Aufdenkamp, putting the Irish up 13-0.

In the third quarter, Branch linked up with Alex Davies for a 33-yard touchdown.

"That’s so important for us and what we’re trying to get done," Dodson said. "We had a number of opportunities last week, and didn’t connect. Tonight, we were able to connect. It’s something we’ve been working hard at. We’ve got to make that work to have our offense clicking on all cylinders."

St. Pat’s will go for its fourth straight win Friday at Mitchell.

"We’ve got a heck of a test on the road next week against a Mitchell team that’s playing some real good football," Dodson said. "We’ve got to be focused and ready to go by (today). We’re going to need a good week of preparation if we want to be successful."

Bridgeport (2-4) 0   0   0 0 — 0

St. Pat’s     (3-3) 0 13 14 0 — 27


S: Gaven Nutter 27 run (Alex Davies PAT good)

S: Charles Aufdenkamp 1 run (PAT no good)

S: Dolan Branch 33 pass to Davies (Davies PAT good)

S: Aufdenkamp 1 run (Davies PAT good)

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