Defense, special teams the difference

Published 7:18 pm Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Coach Ed Pilcher’s Bainbridge High School Bearcats football team opened their 2011 season with a hard fought 16-12 victory over the Early County High School Bobcats here Friday night.

Junior linebacker B.J. Cheatem had a couple of big late defensive plays to help seal the victory.

He first intercepted a fourth quarter pass, then caused a fumble. The fumble was picked up by senior defensive end Anthony Jackson and returned.

In all, the Bearcats defense caused five turnovers.

While the offense had its moments, the defense and special teams were the difference in the game.

Sophomore place kicker Daniel Provence connected on field goals of 27, 38 and 42 yards, and junior punter Paul Soden had a long kick of 42 yards.

I was very impressed by the play of Early County quarterback Jacori Taylor. Whether running himself or dropping back and throwing, he was very elusive and hard to contain.

He had 25 carries for 71 yards and completed 7 of 18 passes for 87 yards.

The Bearcats, who run from the split back veer set on offense and rarely throw, opened the game with a surprise, connecting on a  60-yard pass from senior quarterback Quincy Fortson to junior wide receiver A.J. Miller that penetrated deep into Bobcat territory.

After an illegal procedure penalty moved them back five yards, Provence came on to kick his 23-yard field goal and put the Bearcats on top 3-0.

This week the Bearcats will renew their long time rivalry with the Cairo High School Syrupmakers. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. at Cairo’s West Thomas Stadium.

For the record, I am a proud graduate of Cairo High School, class of 1962, but as sports editor of this fine newspaper the past 41 years, I have become a diehard Bearcats supporter. I wish the Syrupmakers well after they play the Bearcats.

Both teams will enter the game with 1-0 records. The Syrupmakers downed the Drew High School Titans from Riverdale 7-6 Friday night in Cairo.

I have probably attended and covered more Bearcats, Syrupmakers games than the average person and møre times than not they have been very close and competitive.

The Bearcats are a very young team overall this season. Their roster includes 34 juniors, many of whom are major contributors.

I urge everyone to make the short trip to Cairo Friday night and support our Bearcats football players. award winning Marching Bearcats Band members and award winning Bearcats football and competition Bearcats cheerleader squad members. They all do an outstanding job.