Bainbridge returns to Centennial Field to fight Crisp Co.

Published 4:26 pm Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Effort. Hard work. Discipline. Focus. Trust.

These are the core values the Bainbridge Bearcats have played by this season, and they are what coach Jeff Littleton attributes to the team’s 4-0 start, their first since 2009.

But things aren’t going to get easier any time soon.

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“The more games you win, the more targets you are going to have on you,” Littleton said. “People want to upset the winning team, of course. You have people that try to concentrate on trying to beat that undefeated team because it looks good on them. So we have to fight complacency.”

The Bearcats will have to keep their guard up this Friday against the Crisp County Cougars (1-3), who are hungry for more wins after getting their first last week against Doughtery.

Littleton said the Cougars run a zone-read offense, led by freshman quarterback Patrick Felton. With a stable of strong running backs, Crisp County coach Shelton Felton shuffles in fresh legs one play after another.

Bainbridge’s efforts to stop the Thomas County Central veer run game had solid results, particularly in the second half when the Bearcat defense held the Yellow Jackets to just 6 points, while Bainbridge’s offense put the game away with 21 points added to the board.

“The kids are getting used to the system, playing hard and trusting what the coaches are telling them and executing the game plan,” Littleton said. “We didn’t miss as many tackles in the second half, more people getting to the football in the second half. A lot of times, you just have to go back and make sure you’re doing the right things.”

Missing for the rest of the season on the Bearcat defense is senior linebacker Danny Barker, who had surgery on a torn meniscus last week. Barker injured himself while playing against the Monroe Tornadoes on Sept. 11.

Crisp County’s offense is a 3-4 formation that loves to blitz, Littleton said. Luckily, Bainbridge’s offensive line is handling defenders well, giving quarterback Brett McLaughlin ample time to make his passing reads and opening holes for running back Dameon Pierce.

“They just work together well as a unit,” Littleton said. “They realize if one person makes a mistake up there, then the whole unit suffers, the team suffers. They do a good job of meshing together and making sure they don’t miss assignments.”

Littleton said a lot of defenses focus on one aspect, but he believed his Bearcats had plenty of options on offense.

Crisp County defenders to watch out for are outside linebacker Markaviest Bryant and two aggressive tackles, Jahill Taylor and Deangelo Carter.

Bainbridge kicks off against Crisp County Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Centennial Field.