Bearcats celebrate season, receive awards at banquet

Published 5:17 pm Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Bainbridge football players were honored and applauded Monday night for their Region Championship season and deep run in the state playoffs.

The 2015 Bainbridge Bearcats were the first team in program history to go 10-0 with a Region Championship. The Bearcats continued with three playoff wins before losing to Cartersville in the State Semifinals. They finished the season 13-1.

“We had a great year, a phenomenal year,” coach Jeff Littleton said to a cafeteria filled with players, family and friends. “You have a perfect regular season, go 10-0 and win a Region Championship. Once we got to that first playoff round, we started talking about having to take it one day at a time. Get better each day. We started doing that, and in the process of that, we beat three teams in the playoffs that have great traditions.”

Email newsletter signup

Bainbridge beat Griffin, a team that won the State Championship just two years prior, 35-7. Bainbridge then beat Sandy Creek, who have won three State Championships in the past six years, in overtime 14-7. The Bearcats made a huge comeback against St. Pius X in round three for a 18-17 win.

It was the first time Bainbridge was 13-0.

“We prepared for that way back in the winter,” Littleton said. “That sign outside the weight room that says ‘Championships are built here’. That’s where it all started. All of a sudden we beat St. Pius X in the quarterfinals. You had a great year. You had something to be proud of. This whole Bainbridge community has something to be proud of.”

Littleton said everybody, from the administration to the Touchdown Club to the fans in the community, began pulling in the same direction. The result was a strong football team that had the unyielding support of the community.

But what’s next? Littleton said the team is already working hard in the weight room to get even better.

“Is everyone going to say we had a great year, lets just sit back and relax and let’s just see what we can do?” Littleton asked. “Well I can tell you, if you’ve been in the weight room since January, nobody is thinking like that. They are working. Once you take a step in the right direction, you better keep stepping. I believe we are taking the right steps to being great.”

The keynote speaker, Mike Lutzenkirchen, spoke about the importance of being a good friend and a good teammate. Lutzenkirchen told the crowd the lessons that the death of his son, Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, taught him.

Philip’s tragic car accident inspired his father to create the Lutzie 43 Foundation, whose objective is to pass on Philip’s many remarkable characteristics in terms of community service, leadership, and service to others.

Award winners for Highest GPA were freshman Ben Mitchell, sophomore Ben Mulkey, junior Clark Wiggins and senior Evan Oldaker.

Awards for record breakers Tyler Storey, Dameon Pierce and Brett McLaughlin were also handed out.

The Hard Hat Award was given to Hudson Barber, Iran Brown, Travis Campbell, Caleb Boutwell, Mark Loeffler, Tre Storey, Markell Broadnax andMartavious Flowers.

The Most Improved Award was given to Ernest Williams, Zyon McGee, Devin Morris, Tazwa Hollis, Lerone Broadnax, Kerenski Williams, Vonderious Campbell, Malique Pate, Blake Green and A.J. Jackson.

Offensive MVP was given to Dameon Pierce, and Calvin Isom and Elijah Tyler were co-defensive MVPs.

The Iron Man Award was given to Tyler Storey for his tremendous hustle on offense, defense and special teams.

The Tommy Smith Hustle Award was given to Jordan Fleming, Christian Glover and Curtis Brown.