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Bearcats charge into playoffs

Published 8:33pm Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The regular season has wound down after the Bearcats’ 38-14 loss to the Lee County Trojans last Friday, but the grind continues for head coach Jeff Littleton and his players.
This Friday, they travel to Waycross for their first playoff game against the 9-1 Ware County Gators.
The Bearcats, now 5-5, need to focus on execution and discipline to walk out of Waycross with a win.
“Football is 80 percent mental,” Littleton said. “You just have to get kids to trust in themselves and trust in each other. That takes time and hard work, and that has been getting better all year long.”
Littleton reinforces those words every day to his players and coaches, and believes he’s seeing improvement from them in practice and games.
For Ware County, arguably the Bearcats’ biggest game this season, his philosophy doesn’t change.
“This game is no different than any other games,” Littleton said about keeping the mentality for the team the same.
The Gators base their offense out of a multiple I-formation, putting their players in position to make it difficult for the defense to adjust before the snap. The formation is similar to what the Bearcats run on offense. Ware County will run the ball up the middle or go for big play-action passes, hitting their receivers deep in the backfield.
On defense, The Gators run an odd front and blitz often. Last Friday, they travelled to Effingham County and shutout the Rebels 34-0. The Trojans ran a similar defense to stop Bainbridge in their tracks last Friday, but Littleton stressed Ware County was not as chaotic as Lee County.
“They’re aggressive and a good football team,” Littleton said about Lee County.
Dropped passes and missed blocking assignments put Bainbridge in a difficult position last Friday. Failure to defend against Trojan quarterback Stephen Collier’s deadly accurate pass allowed Lee County to rack up the score. By the fourth quarter, the Bearcats couldn’t catch up.
For a victory Friday, the Bearcats need to correct their mistakes and bring their own level of aggressiveness to Waycross.
“It’ll take four quarters to beat a team of this caliber,” Littleton said. “We’ve got to take care of business and focus on our game plan.”
The game plan still falls into two fundamental categories for Bainbridge: protecting the football and tackling well. Littleton said he doesn’t want any more missed tackles.

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