Coach Littleton looks at sub-region play as fresh slate during prep for Americus-Sumter

Published 5:36 pm Tuesday, September 29, 2015

For the first time since 1986, the Bainbridge Bearcats are 5-0 after a 35-10 win over Crisp County last Friday at Centennial Field.

But you can wipe that record clean, according to coach Jeff Littleton. With sub-region play beginning this Friday at Americus-Sumter, the Bainbridge coach is telling his players the season is just starting.

“We’re 0-0 right now,” Littleton said. “Sub-region play starts Friday night. Monday at practice, I said we’re 0-0 and the new season starts today.”

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If the Bearcats can win their sub-region schedule against Americus-Sumter, Worth County, Dougherty and Westover, the team will have a shot at winning the region championship and hosting a first-round play off game at Centennial Field.

A 1-AAAA Region Championship is one of the goals Littleton has for his team.

“If you don’t win the first one, you can’t win them all,” Littleton said about Friday’s game against the Panthers. “What we’re trying to make sure the team understands is if we win this first one, then we control our own destiny, and that’s one step closer to a region championship.”

The Panthers run a 3-4 defense. Senior defensive tackle Tyler Clark, who committed to Georgia in May, will be a major threat. Standing at 6-feet-4-inches and 290 pounds, the

Bainbridge offensive line will have to focus on containing him to protect quarterback Brett McLaughlin and running back Dameon Pierce.

To complicate matters, the Panthers will occasionally bring forward two corner backs to the line of scrimmage for a five-man front.

“They are very athletic,” Littleton said. “They are big on the offensive and defensive line, and they are scoring a lot of points.”

The Panthers (2-3) defeated Albany 49-20 two weeks ago and are coming off a bye week. Earlier in the month, they lost 47-29 to Thomas County Central.

“We are just getting better at what we do,” Littleton said. “We want to get better at blocking, tackling, running, throwing and catching. As long as we are doing that, I feel good about where we are.”