CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Saint Albans coach Steve Stoffel Jr. probably felt like jumping off a bridge after his team's early miscues.
After trailing at halftime, the host Red Dragons exploded for 30 fourth-quarter points at Crawford Field Friday night to capture a 43-19 victory over cross-river rival Nitro in the annual ''Battle of the Bridge.''
After SA took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a 54-yard run by Kevic Watkins, Nitro countered with a 34-yard field goal from Chase Kirk.
On the ensuing kickoff, Taylor Clark returned it for a touchdown but the play was negated due to illegal participation when a SA player from the sideline ran into a referee resulting in 12 men on the field. SA (1-3) also watched a 27-yard field goal attempt get blocked after it failed to take advantage of a Nitro 4-yard punt to its own 34-yard line. SA got stuffed on four straight attempts to score from the Nitro 2 in the third quarter.
"We kind of shot ourselves in the foot the whole first half of the game," Stoffel said. "We gave them opportunities. We had a chance with that kickoff runback to distance ourselves and run away with it. Penalties kill us. We talked about it at halftime. When we stop beating ourselves, we can be pretty good."
In the end, it all worked out for Stoffel and his squad. Watkins rushed for 149 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns.
"This was probably the most important game of our whole season honestly," Watkins said. "Even if we make it to the playoffs, I think this is the biggest game of them all."
Not only did SA return the Battle of the Bridge trophy to its side, but it also collected its first win of the season.
"We talked all week about the fact that they [Nitro] know what's it like to win one [Battle of Bridge game]," Stoffel said. "We were still trying to get that feeling. We didn't a chance until tonight. Hopefully, this starts us on a roll."
Last year, Nitro (1-3) defeated SA 17-14. It was Nitro's first win in the series since 2007.