Bearcats stomp Rams, take the driver’s seat in region

Published 12:06 am Saturday, October 10, 2015


Dameon Pierce (29) takes a handoff from quarterback Brett McLaughlin as lineman Curtis Brown (62) handles his blocking assignment. — Jeff Findley

If there was any doubt the Bainbridge Bearcats were dead-set on marching straight to this season’s Region Championship, they squashed it Friday night.

The Bearcats put on a show for the fans, the coaches and themselves with a 30-14 win over the Worth County Rams (3-3) at Centennial Field.

Bainbridge is now 7-0 on the season for the first time since 1986, and they are in the driver’s seat for Region 1-AAAA. They will need to beat Dougherty (3-2) next week and Westover (2-4) on Oct. 30 to win Sub-Region B and compete in the Region Championship against with winner of Sub-Region A.

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“I think it is a big step toward winning the sub-region championship and staying in the drivers seat for controlling our own destiny,” coach Jeff Littleton said. “I’m really excited for our players, really excited for our coaches, the community.”

If Bainbridge makes it to the Region Championship, they are guaranteed to host the first round of the State Class AAAA playoffs at Centennial Field, regardless of the winner.

“We’re going to do it,” said senior wide receiver Tyler Story. “We’re in there.”

Two offensive records were tied against the Rams, one by Story and another by sophomore running back Dameon Pierce.

Story had five catches for 124 receiving yards, tying the season receptions record of 43 catches previously held by Stanley Flanders in 1990.

Flanders took 11 games to set the record. Story has done it in seven.

“We knew there was going to be some adversity in the game, and we knew we needed to keep our mind in it,” Story said. “Constantly, every play, I kept telling the O-line and Dameon and everybody, we had to keep our mind in the game, and it just went on from there.”


Senior wide receiver Tyler Story catches a pass and turns upfield. — Jeff Findley

Junior quarterback Brett McLaughlin set up Story’s record-tying night, going 13-of-23 with 214 yards and three interceptions.

Pierce crushed the Worth County defense, racking up 194 rushing yards on 27 carries and four touchdowns. He is tied with Jonathan Butler of the 1993 Bearcats for 19 touchdowns in a season. It took Butler 13 games to set the record.

“We basically won our one-on-one battles,” Pierce said, who continuously praised the O-line for their blocking. “Pretty sure the fans and the whole city of Bainbridge is proud of us.”

Bainbridge was first to put points on the board with a 2-yard touchdown run from Pierce with 5:22 left in the first quarter to set up a 7-0 lead.

Bainbridge maintained control for the rest of the half, with Pierce rushing for two more touchdowns, one a 5-yarder and the other a 1-yarder. The halftime score was 21-0 in Bainbridge’s favor.

Worth County exploded in the second half, scoring on a 17-yard run play, intercepting a pass on Bainbridge’s next drive and scoring again with an 18-yard pass. Bainbridge’s lead was 21-14, but it was clear the Bearcats needed to adjust.

“They came out fired up,” Littleton said about the Rams’ third quarter performance. “We didn’t match their intensity there to start with. The kids told each other and they told me, ‘It’s just adversity.’ They looked at me and told me, ‘Coach, we’re okay.’ That means a lot to me.”

The Bearcats scored on their next series with a 1-yard touchdown run by Pierce to make the score 28-14.

The defense held Worth County to 237 yards of total offense, containing a stable of running backs that continuously pounded the ball down the field.

“Our team knew what we had to do,” senior defensive tackle Calvin Isom said. “If everybody did their job, we knew we were going to win. Everybody had a job to do. Everyone knew who they were supposed to cover.”


Senior linebacker Jordan Martin (32) busts into the backfield to stop Worth County running back Dontavious Buford (30). — Jeff Findley

With 5:44 left in the game and the Rams on their own 11-yard line, a bad snap sent the ball bouncing into the end zone. It was recovered by senior safety Elijah Tyler, giving the Bearcats a safety and a 30-14 lead.

“Winning the next two games means everything,” Pierce said. “Keep the fans coming, keep the motivation coming, and we’ll give you all we got.”

Bainbridge kicks off against Dougherty next Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany.