Northside bests Cats, 35-14
Published 11:39 pm Friday, September 24, 2010
By JOE CRINE and BRENNAN LEATHERS
The Bainbridge Bearcats held their own against the top-ranked team in Georgia’s Class AAAA, the Northside-Warner Robins Eagles, losing 35-14 in a hard-fought game at Centennial Field on Friday night.
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Bainbridge got on the scoreboard first on their first drive of the game. Junior quarterback Steven Bench faked a handoff and then completed a 10-yard pass to Aaron Hall for a touchdown just two minutes into the game.
The score was set up by a pass interference penalty called against the Eagles, moving the ball to midfield. Then Bench kept the ball himself, running all the way down to the Northside 15.
BHS’ Hal Clement kicked off to the Eagles’ Steven Nelson, who returned the ball all the way for an apparent touchdown, but a holding penalty nullified the score. The Bearcats’ defense held, but after Bainbridge could not make anything happen, Bench punted from the BHS 13. Nelson returned the punt 49 yards, all the way into the end zone, to make it 7-7 with 5:48 left in the first.
Midway through the second quarter, Northside scored again when quarterback Briar Van Brunt completed a 5-yard pass to Stephon Cross to make it 14-7.
With just over three minutes left in the second quarter, the Bearcats struck back, as Bench handed off to Hall, who found a gap and ran 62 yards for a touchdown to tie it at 14-14.
BHS’ Daniel Provence, who also handled place kicking for the Bearcats, attempted an onside kick, which the Eagles returned to the BHS 48. Two long rushes by Van Brunt helped the Eagles drive deep into BHS territory. Facing a third and goal from the BHS 7 with 24 seconds left in the first half, Van Brunt threw a touchdown pass to Cross, making the halftime score 21-14 in the Eagles’ favor.
With 2:26 left in the third, Van Brunt ran 10 yards for a touchdown to make it 28-14.
The Eagles’ final score came with 9:27 left in the fourth quarter, when Van Brunt again kept it himself and ran 15 yards for a touchdown.
BHS’ Shawn Samuels intercepted a Northside pass on the Bearcats’ one-yard line with 6:04 left in the fourth quarter; however, the Bearcats could not move past their own 21 and were forced to punt, giving the Eagles the final possession.
Next Friday at 7:30 p.m., Bainbridge will face the Hardaway Golden Hawks, a region opponent, at home.