Bearcats prepare for toughest challenger yet with Sandy Creek in second round of playoffs

Published 7:15 pm Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In the second round of state playoffs, there are no bad teams, Bainbridge coach Jeff Littleton said.

Sandy Creek (9-2), Bainbridge’s opponent Friday, is one of the strongest programs in the state, with championships as recently as 2009, 2010 and 2012.

The Patriots will challenge the Bearcats in ways they haven’t seen this season.

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“They have a nice tradition and a big program they have built off of that tradition,” Littleton said. “They are trying to have eight straight 10-plus win seasons. They’ve won three state championships (recently) and they are the type of program that we want to get our program to.”

Led by sophomore quarterback Bryant Walker, the Sandy Creek offense lines up in the power-I formation and pounds opponents up the gut with running backs Jaelen Green (634 yards, 88 carries) and Marvin Hubbard (893 yards, 91 carries)

“They are a physical team and run it right at you,” Littleton said. “They’ll run a toss sweep and they’ll play-action pass on you and try to get big plays off of those.”

Defensively, Littleton said they have big players that force opponents to make big plays on the perimeter. Led by linebackers Will Harper (42 tackles) and Elijah Gilmore (39 tackles), Bainbridge’s offensive line will have to maintain their blocking assignments to give running backs Dameon Pierce and Malique Pate a chance to make plays.

“We are going to have execute offensively to be able to play with that team,” Littleton said. “We have to win the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, no doubt.”

Sandy Creek has good players all the way around, Littleton said.

“So do we,” he added.

Pierce became Bainbridge’s all-time touchdown leader with his 39 career touchdown in only 22 career games. He currently has 32 touchdowns on the season, also a Bainbridge record. A strong defensive line and a quick, hard-tackling secondary has also kept opponents to an average of 10.5 points per game.

“Beating a program like that goes a long to way to providing tradition and pride to your kids,” Littleton said about Sandy Creek. “But the main thing we want to worry about is making sure we are focusing on getting better in practice and taking care of the little things. If we do that, then all that other stuff will take care of itself.”

Bainbridge kicks off against Sandy Creek at 7:30 p.m at Centennial Field.