• 61°

Turnovers, penalties concern Pilcher

The defense and offense both did some good things, but turnovers and penalties were critical.

That was the feeling expressed by Bainbridge High School Bearcats head football coach Ed Pilcher Monday morning following his team’s 13-3 Friday night regular-season ending loss to the Region 1AAAA champion Thomas County Central High School Yellow Jackets at Centennial Field.

“The defense played outstanding,” Pilcher said. “They have played that way all season except for a couple of games.”

It was a competitive close game all night. A long pass completion from quarterback Rohan Gaines to running back Thomas Smiley that would have put the Bearcats in good field position was called back for an illegal receiver downfield penalty. The field goal we missed would have also helped, Pilcher said.

“It was a good call. We had a man about two or three yards down field, because he thought Rohan was going to run with the football. A face mask penalty against us really hurt us as well,” he said.

“We moved the ball a lot better on offense, but turnovers stopped a couple of drives. Our defense only did a couple of things wrong all night. One was the face mask penalty. We also missed an assignment on Central’s touchdown run. We have got to do a better job of taking care of the football. The field goal we missed would have helped in the end as well,” Pilcher said.

“When you run the split-back veer offense like us and Central do, every defensive player has to take care of his assignment or the opponent can break a big play on you,” he said.

The Bearcats, who finished third in the nine-team Region 1AAAA, must now put the Central loss behind them and get ready for Friday’s first-round State Class AAAA playoff game against the North Clayton High School Eagles at College Park near Atlanta. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m.

Individual Statistics

Rushing—Rohan Gaines, 19-90; Jeremy Harper, 10-48; Thomas Smiley, 3-10; James Hudson, 1-(-1).

Passing—Rohan Gaines, 6-9-28.

Receiving—D.J. Stubbs, 2-19; Thomas Smiley, 2-7; James Hudson, 1-6; Markieth Chrispen, 1-(-4).

Punt returns—Shawn Samuels, 2-3.

Kickoff returns—Shawn Samuels, 1-34; Jeremy Harper, 1-15; Justin Harris, 1-12.