Bainbridge owns second half in 34-16 win against Thomas Co. Central
Published 12:07 am Saturday, September 19, 2015
Bainbridge faced its toughest matchup of the season against Thomas County Central Friday night, but players and coaches were walking off Centennial Field grinning from ear to ear after the game.
Sophomore running back Dameon Pierce rushed for 140 yards, senior defensive tackle Calvin Isom scored on a 64-yard pick-6 and the Bearcats (4-0) lit up the second half to beat the rival Yellow Jackets (2-2) 34-16.
“We focused on the game plan,” coach Jeff Littleton said. “We knew we were going to go through some adversity at some point in the game, and the kids just kept fighting.”
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Pierce scored two touchdowns for the Bearcats and had 27 carries.
Also lighting up the Bearcat offense was the passing duo of quarterback Brett McLaughlin and wide receiver Tyler Story. McLaughlin was 11-of 23 passing for 173 yards.Story was responsible for 126 of those yards.
“We came together and got pumped up,” Story said. “During the game we faced some adversity, but we came through it.”
A 2-yard rush from McLaughlin put Bainbridge on the board first, followed by an extra point from kicker Evan Oldaker to make the score 7-0.
On TCC’s next series, the Bearcats took advantage of a Yellow Jacket fumble on the 10-yard line, recovered by Lerone Broadnax. Pierce’s first touch was another fumble right back to TCC.
“It was my first one of the season,” Pierce said about the drop. “When I lost that fumble, I knew I was in scoring position, but I just lost it. Coach Larry Cosby told me to keep calm. The first half came to an end, and I was ready.”
TCC scored on an 8-yard run in the first quarter, utilizing their veer offense and causing confusion for the Bearcat defense.
Pierce scored his first touchdown in the second quarter on a 2-yard rush. A missed extra point later and the score was 13-7.
The Yellow Jackets hit a 34-yard field goal shortly before halftime to push the score to 13-10.
With an option-based offense that was racking up yards and threatening to score more in the second half, Littleton said his players and the coaches needed to make adjustments.
“We were staying on the field too long, we were missing tackles and running ourselves out of position,” Littleton said about the defense’s first-half performance. “We were over-pursuing. We just weren’t playing solid defense. We went in at halftime and made a few adjustments and made a few coaching adjustments.”
The adjustments made a difference on both sides of the ball.
The Yellow Jackets defense held Pierce to just 22 yards in the first half. In the second half, he returned with a vengeance and rushed for 118 yards and his second touchdown.
Following a missed field goal attempt by the Yellow Jackets to tie up the game, Pierce led the offense on an 80-yard drive to cross into the end zone and push the score to 20-10.
On the next series, a pinned back TCC managed to recover a fumble on Bainbridge’s punt return. The Yellow Jackets went to a pass play on first-and-10, but quarterback Kelias Williams found Isom instead of his receiver, and he bolted through a desolate backfield for a 64-yard touchdown.
“I saw nothing but the ball,” Isom said, a huge smile across his face. “I couldn’t believe it. I thank God. Unbelievable.”
Bainbridge held TCC to a three-and-out on their next series and marched down the field to score again, this time a 4-yard run from running back Malique Pate, making the score 34-10.
With just over 30 seconds left on the clock, TCC put together a touchdown drive and scored on a 28-yard pass play. They missed their extra point, and Bainbridge took victory formation on the next series with the scoreboard reading 34-16.
“We take care of ourselves,” Littleton said. “We have to continue to get better. We haven’t even started sub-region play. Our goal is to win a region championship first. That’s why we have to keep working every day, to get better every day.”
Bainbridge returns to Centennial Field to face Crisp County next Friday. Kick off is at 7:30 p.m.