Bearcats opening night will be special

Published 6:16 am Tuesday, August 21, 2012

In any sport, there is always something special about opening day, or opening night, as the case may be.

Bainbridge was scheduled to travel to Dothan, Ala., on Friday, Aug. 31, to play Northview in its season opener, but that game was cancelled. Therefore, the Bearcats’ new home opener is a week ahead of most Georgia teams.

They will host the East Gadsden High School Jaguars, of Havana, Fla., this Friday at 8 p.m. at Centennial Field.

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Since the Georgia High School Association does not allow its member schools to open their football seasons prior to Friday, Aug. 31, without special permission, Bearcats head coach Ed Pilcher sought and received that permission.

After their big 38-11 pre-season scrimmage victory over the Chamblee High School Bulldogs on Friday night at Centennial Field, it should be a fired-up atmosphere when the Jaguars come calling.

I have been covering Bearcats football for 42 years, and I can’t remember another team during that time that featured as many seniors as this year’s team does.

In any high school sport, there is no substitute for senior leadership, and with 32 seniors suiting up this season, the Bearcats have it in abundance.

Games often feature several momentum changes, and when they occur it is more often than not senior leaders who step in and keep things on an even keel.

The Bearcats football team and two other special groups of Bainbridge High School young people make Bearcats Friday nights extra special.

The second of those groups is the award-winning Bearcats Marching Band, “The Pride of Decatur County.”

Decatur County School System Director of Bands Paschal Ward and his outstanding staff and musicians are truly the pride of their county, their city and their school system.

The final member of the three special young peoples groups is coach Lea Hawkins’ award-winning Bearcats cheerleaders, who keep the student body and other members of the home crowd fired up throughout the game.

The football team, band members and cheerleaders are all made up of fine young people who make Centennial Field the place to be on Friday nights this time of year.

Come on out Friday, fill the home stands, and let the visitors from Havana know how proud we are of our high-achieving young people. I’ll see you there.

Joe Crine is the sports editor of The Post-Searchlight. You can email him at