MADISON — The reigning Class D state champions didn’t get a chance to play a preseason game. It didn’t matter much, as the Wells Warriors were in midseason form on opening night.

Wells rolled into Madison and rolled up the yards on the ground, amassing more than 400 yards of total offense in a 32-0 victory over the Bulldogs on Friday night in the Class D South season opener for both teams. Senior running back Tyler Bridge was the focal point of the ground game, racking up 261 yards and four touchdowns.

Bridge was the understudy to super back Nolan Potter a year ago, and on Friday Bridge showed why the Warriors and their Wing-T offense likely won’t miss a beat in 2018.

“I loved it,” Bridge said of his first taste as Wells’ featured back. “It was excellent to see the results. It was awesome. Our coaches prepare us well, and we were ready to go.”

Wells raced out to a 19-0 lead after just one quarter, with the second of Bridge’s scoring runs going for 85 yards off the left side as time expired in the period.

“It’s really important to get a good start right away,” Bridge said. “Coach always says once you get on them early, don’t let up, step on it and finish the game. That was awesome to see.”

Late in the first half, Bridge capped a sustained 13-play, 76-yard scoring march with his four-yard touchdown run.

But Bridge’s most impressive jaunt might have come in the fourth quarter, when he busted off the left side for 34 yards to end a 94-yard scoring drive.

Bridge also had a 59-yard touchdown that staked his team to a 13-0 lead midway through the first quarter, adding to Devin Chace’s four-yard TD run on the game’s very first possession.

“Tyler Bridge doesn’t surprise us,” Madison coach Scott Franzose said. “We know he’s probably one of the best, if not the best, running backs in the conference.”

Bridge finished with 16.3 yards per carry, a crucial part of Wells’ 424 yards of total offense — all but 10 of which came via the running game.

“We knew they run the Wing-T and they ran exactly what we expected,” Franzose said. “They were fast, they were physical. Lot of big plays. (Our) guys not hitting gaps, guys not on their assignment. We’re still a little bit raw there, but they played a heck of a game. They’re a disciplined team and they’re on assignments. It’s a little bit of a perfect storm there.”

Madison was overmatched in the first half but looked better in the third quarter. The Bulldogs forced a Warriors’ three-and-out on the opening possession of the second half, and then turned that into their most promising drive of the night.

Led by senior quarterback Eric Westcott (32 yards rushing), who had blocked a punt to set up great field position, Madison put together a 10-play drive inside the red zone. It ended on fourth and 14 from the Wells 16 when Westcott’s pass was picked off by — who else? — Bridge at the one-yard line.

That effectively ended any shot the Bulldogs had of getting back into the contest. They finished with just 122 yards of total offense and only twice managed to get into Wells territory.

“We didn’t have a scrimmage, so we hadn’t played anyone,” Wells coach Tim Roche said. “I didn’t know where we were in this whole thing. Everyone wants to predict us as this team (to beat), but I don’t know that. I don’t have that same confidence. I have confidence in my kids, but I didn’t know how good they were or what’s going to be thrown at us.

“I think our kids stepped it up. I was really happy with that being our first time out against a team.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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