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Bearcats down Cairo with team effort

Friday night’s Bainbridge High School Bearcats’ 17-14 victory over the Cairo High School Syrupmakers at Cairo’s West Thomas Stadium was the result of a true team effort in every sense of the words.

Cairo was ranked No. 4 in the state in Class AAA going into the game and Bearcats head coach Ed Pilcher told me early last week that the team needed to stay focused and not get caught up in all the hype.

“We just need to do our job and not get too emotional,” he said.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Syrupmakers took a 7-0 lead when Terrell Cason ran 29 yards for a touchdown and Taylor Donalson kicked the extra point.

The Bearcats’ offense got going on the ensuing drive which ended with Terry Lewis running 7 yards off the left side for a touchdown. Daniel Provemce, who would even be a bigger factor later, kicked the tying extra point.

It was Provence’s 43-yard field gal as time expired in the first half that sent the Bearcats to the locker room with a 10-7 halftime lead.

I thought Bearcats senior quarterback Quincy Fortson did an excellent job running the Bearcats’ split back veer offense. Whether he was handing the ball to Lewis, faking the ball to him or another running back and running outside, or pitching the ball out, he did it with precision.

Defensiely, I thought tackle Shammai Wilburn came up with some big tackles and showed a lot of senior leadership.

I also thought one of the keys to the victory was the play of the Bearcats offensive line. They helped make the offense go with their superb blocking effort.

Anchoring the line was junior center Cole Granato. Also turning in strong blocking efforts Friday night were junior tackle Jason Long and junior guards Anquivious Carroll, Tim Shaw and Andrzej Jeglinski. Jeglinski also did an excellent job of long snapping.

To beat a team like Cairo, one that goes deep into the playoffs most seasons, you have to play a strong game, and the Bearcats did.

Their offense, defense and special teams all got the job done.

I thought the great support of our award-winning Marching Bearcat Band, our award-winning football and competition cheerleading squad and our Bearcat fans, who filled the visiting side to capacity, were instrumental in the victory.

I also thought my dear friend Billy Simmons Jr., who assists Bainbridge’s certified athletic trainer Chris Summers on the sidelines each Friday night, did a good job of waving towels, dancing and generally keeping the crowd fired up.

Now Bearcats head coach Ed Pilcher, his staff and team, must put the big victory over Cairo behind them and turn their attention to the Westover High School Patriots. Like the Bearcats, Westover enters Friday’s 7:30 p.m. game at Albany’s Hugh Mills Memorial Stadium, with a perfect 2-0 record.