Bearcats hold strong on the road against rival Cairo

Published 12:20 am Saturday, September 5, 2015


Tyler Story (2) runs down the field on a punt return, pointing to his teammates to make blocks, as Elsamar Williams (45) Trey Stubbs (15), Kerenski Williams (4) and Tazwa Hollis (60) move with him. — Jeff Findley

The Bainbridge Bearcats came into a packed West Thomas Stadium at Cairo Friday with a chip on their shoulder, sophomore running back Dameon Pierce said.

The attitude is what the Bearcats (2-0) needed as they pushed through the night to a 21-7 win over the Syrupmakers.

Pierce rushed for 76 yards on 26 carries, had 26 receiving yards and scored two touchdowns for Bainbridge.

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“It’s a rivalry that we lost the past two years,” Pierce said. “It feels great, just anyway to help my team.”

Junior quarterback Brett McLaughlin was making plays in the air as well. He was 14-of-27 with 225 passing yards and a had touchdown pass to Tyler Story in the fourth quarter to push the game to 21-0.

Cairo scored their only touchdown with just under four minutes left in the game. The Syrupmakers put together a 62-yard drive that finished with junior running back Jamal Thomas rushing for 1 yard into the end zone.

DeShawn Walker led Cairo on the ground with 27 yards on 10 carries. Junior quarterback John Owens was kept under pressure, and his final throw of the night was intercepted by Elijah Tyler to give Bainbridge the possession and run out the clock.

“He was a powerful back,” senior defensive end Calvin Isom said about Walker. “He has speed on him when he hits the hole. We put force in on the quarterback. We tried to put pressure on him so he could throw interceptions.”

Bainbridge opened the game with a six-play drive that finished with Pierce rushing for an 11-yard touchdown and a missed point after. A fumble recovery by Isom returned the ball to the Bearcats. Cornered in a fourth-and-13 situation, punter Clark Wiggins faked a punt for a 19-yard pass to Story. The drive ended with a missed field goal attempt by kicker Evan Oldaker.

Bainbridge scored again at the end of the first quarter with another run by Pierce for 5 yards. A 2-point conversion pass from McLaughlin to junior wide receiver Zyon McGee pushed the score to 14-0.

“In the first half, we were working well on the passing game,” McLaughlin said. “We were clicking.”

Neither team scored again until the fourth quarter when Story scored on a 29-yard pass from McLaughlin.

“I knew (the defender) was going to be on my outside shoulder, so I turned inside and ran,” Story said.

Story was the Bearcats’ key offensive weapon as he led the team in the air with 191 receiving yards and eight catches.

“Tyler had a great game,” Bainbridge coach Jeff Littleton said. “We were just taking what they were giving us. They were giving us one-on-one matchups with Tyler and we just took advantage of that.”

Bainbridge was shown an immense amount of support from the visitor’s stands, which were packed with fans donning purple and gold.

“I’m excited for the kids and the fans,” Littleton said. “We played a hard fought game. Cairo fought us hard. I’m excited about beating a good football team.”

The problem was the penalties, which robbed Bainbridge of two touchdowns in the first half alone, Littleton said.

“Three holding penalties in the first half killed us,” Littleton said. “You have to credit Cairo, they have a good defense.”

Bainbridge continues their season next Friday with a road game against Monroe in Albany. Kick off is at 7:30 p.m.