Bearcats looking to play their best football at West Laurens

Published 6:12 pm Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Bainbridge Bearcats showed how hard they had been working all season when they held Thomas County Central (7-3) on back-to-back drives, stopping a go-ahead score and seizing the win 14-9.

After shaking hands with the Yellow Jackets, the team huddled together, holding their helmets above their head in a victory rally. The energy was high. Bainbridge (6-4) is going to the State Class AAAA Playoffs.

“I think, overall, the kids are buying into the coaches’ philosophy,” coach Jeff Littleton said.

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The philosophy has been one he’s worked on implementing from the beginning of his tenure at Bainbridge more than a year ago.

“Believe in the process.”

But as Bainbridge turns to focus on what’s ahead, it finds itself coming against arguably its most difficult opponent of the season: The West Laurens Raiders.

The Raiders (7-3) won their game last Friday against Mary Pearsons 21-14, and unlikely scenario that put them at No. 1 in their region.

The Raiders run a multiple offense, often switching between the I-formation and the spread-formation. Weapons include 6-foot-8-inch senior wide receiver Justin Smith, who has 50 receptions for 823 yards this season. Under center is senior quarterback Garrel Quainton, who is 122-of-237 passing for 1,753 total yards. He also has 100 yards rushing.

Sophomore running back Darius Bradford is the Raiders’ leading rusher with 942 yards on 188 carries.

On defense, a pair of aggressive defensive ends and a set of smart linebackers have kept many opponents’ offenses in check this season

“They’re really well coached, so they’re in the right places all the time,” Littleton said. “They’re really good tacklers, so we have our work cut out for us.”

Littleton said the Bearcats have been practicing exceptionally well the past two weeks, which is part of what made last Friday’s game come down to the wire.

“We’ve improved each game and we feel good about the situation we’re in,” Littleton said. “We haven’t played our best football game yet.”

Kick off is at West Laurens Friday at 7:30 p.m.