Bearcats defeat Hardaway, secure spot in playoffs

Published 10:07 am Monday, October 21, 2013

A flurry of turnovers forced by the Bearcats spelled defeat for Hardaway High School last night. Bainbridge’s 29-12 win over the Hawks has secured them a spot in the 1AAAAA high school football playoffs.

“They played hard and the played relentless,” Head Coach Jeff Littleton said. “They never gave up. We’re just coming together as a team, building trust in each other. We’re a very young football team and we’re getting to where we’re gelling.”

Bearcat running back Aaron Calloway rushed for 123 yards on 26 carries, moving the ball and putting the team in scoring position drive after drive.

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“We basically did the same thing we did last week,” Calloway said. “We showed up second half. We went in and coach talked to us, then came back out and turned it up.”

The Bearcats allowed two touchdowns in the first half. Hardaway running back Justin Crawford made it difficult for Bainbridge to stop their run. Crawford would take snaps as a quarterback and run, hand off or pass the ball depending on the play. But five crucial turnovers from the Hawks gave Bainbridge the opportunity to take full advantage of their field position.

Running back and middle linebacker Tremain “the train” McCray attacked Hardaway on both sides of the ball, blocking a field goal and running in a touchdown in the first half. Despite the major plays, the Bearcats entered the locker room down 12-9 at halftime.

It appeared Littleton and his team were beginning to slip, but the coach remained confident and made sure the Bearcats were ready to go for the second half.

“We improved last week in our running game, and we wanted to improve on that tonight because we felt like we could run against them,” Littleton said. “We started slow, but we picked it up in the second half.”

The Bearcats exploded in the second half, denying any points for the Hawks. A touchdown and two field goals from BHS record-setting kicker Daniel Provence put the Bearcats up 22-12 with three-and-a-half minutes left on the clock.

Hardaway was able to move down the field, beating away at the exhausted Bainbridge defense. But a fumble by Crawford on the 1-yard line was picked up by McCray and ran all the way home for a touchdown, leaving 35 seconds left on the clock.

“It was exciting,” McCray said. “Everything felt like it was on my side. I had my team pushing me.”

Quarterback Preston Norris was five for six on passing for 76 yards. He said he felt good on the field, leading the team to the win.

“I’ve been trying really hard on becoming more of a leader,” Norris said.

The Bearcats finished the game 29-12. Though they are locked into the playoffs, Norris wants the focus to be on the next game.

“I’m ready for playoffs, but we got to keep winning this season,” Norris said. “We can’t look forward to playoffs right now.”