Bainbridge Bearcats control their own destiny in region
Published 6:06 pm Tuesday, October 6, 2015
One day at a time.
That’s one of Bainbridge coach Jeff Littleton’s biggest lessons he is teaching his players. After last Friday’s 38-0 rout over Americus-Sumter and a perfect 6-0 record, it’s easy to look ahead and lose focus.
But Littleton is keeping the Bearcats zoned in on today, the here and now.
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“They know we have to take care of business everyday,” Littleton said. “We aren’t worrying about tomorrow. We are worrying about today. Tomorrow will come, and we’ll get better tomorrow, too.”
Friday, the Bearcats face off against the Worth County Rams (3-2, 3-0 Region 1-AAAA) in a game that ultimately decides playoff seeding. If Bainbridge wants a shot to play for the region championship and host the first round of the State Class AAAA playoffs at Centennial Field, they’ll need to beat the Rams.
But it won’t be easy.
“They have size and speed on defense,” Littleton said. “They are really big up front. They are going to force you to beat them on the perimeter a lot. It’s going to be a fight.”
Leading tacklers like the senior linebacker trio of Justin Crosby, Jamile Curry and Cameron Farley will force Bainbridge to block well, stick with assignments and create room for running backs Dameon Pierce and Malique Pate to gain ground.
Senior free safety Eric Burrows will also pressure Bearcat receivers.
The Rams’ offensive style is a reflection of their mascot.
“They’re 80-90 percent run,” Littleton said, mentioning senior running backs Justin Hope, who has rushed for 610 yards this season, and Dontavious Buford, who has hit 299 yards. “We have to be fundamentally sound up front and in the secondary. Do things right, know your role and do our job.”
Littleton was pleased with the running game during last week’s shutout against the Panthers, and is rallying the offense to make the same moves against Worth County.
“We were consistent running the football,” he said. “We are going to have to loosen them up a little on the perimeter to be able to run more effectively.”
During last year’s game against Worth County in Sylvester, the Bearcats entered the locker room at halftime tied 14-14 with the Rams. In the second half, Worth County surged on offense and held Bainbridge to just 14 points in a huge 48-28 win. Littleton is looking back at that game for insight, and he is sure his players are too.
“They know what happened and they know the mistakes they made,” Littleton said. “I think they were probably embarrassed a little bit from it, like everybody was. If I know them like I think I do, they’ll work pretty hard this week and get their mistakes corrected to do a much better job than last year.”