Large crowd views midnight practice

Published 8:42 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2011

More than 300 eager fans turned out early Monday morning to watch the Bainbridge High School Bearcats football team go through their annual midnight madness practice session in pads on their practice field.

Monday was the first day Georgia High School Association teams were allowed to go into pads, hence the 12:01 a.m. practice start.

Coach Lea Hawkins’ Bainbridge High School football and competition cheerleaders led the fans in cheers as the players went through their drills.

‘‘The atmosphere was great for midnight madness,” Bearcats head coach Ed Pilcher said. “We really appreciate our fans and cheerleaders coming out. Our players are all working very hard at camp this week.”

The Bearcats offense is being led by senior quarterback Quincy Fortson and sophomore quarterback Preston Norris. Senior wide receiver Rashad Kelly has done a good job catching the football, Pilcher said.

Key returning offensive linemen include junior Cole Granato, junior Madison Malone and junior Andrzej Jegliniski. Junior Tim Shaw, who moved in from Deleware, will  also play up front offensively.

Defensive leaders include senior tackle Shammai Wilburn, free safety Dontavious Baulkman and senior linebacker Mitchell Massengill. Senior defensive back/wide receiver Cameron McDowell dislocated his ankle at a passing camp last week and may not return for up to two months.

The Bearcats will open their season Friday, August 26 against the Early County High School Bobcats at Centennial Field. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m.

A pre-season scrimmage with former region opponent Americus-Sumter is scheduled for the week before the official opener; details are being finalized, Pilcher said.