Bearcats face tough test from Tigers on Friday

Published 4:45 pm Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Don’t let Dothan’s 1-4 record fool you.

Bainbridge’s competition this Friday is big and aggressive, coach Jeff Littleton said, and will give the Bearcats a run for their money at Centennial Field.

Fresh off the first win of the season, a 50-7 victory against Early County last Friday, Bainbridge (1-2) still has lots of problems to correct. But the team is getting better, Littleton said.

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“We had a lot of good things,” Littleton said. “We had (eight) completions. We had less missed assignments up front on the offensive line, less missed assignments in the secondary and with the linebackers in coverage. We had a lot of things we improved on.”

Early County attempted one pass last week, so Bainbridge wasn’t able to work on its pass defense against the Bobcats. Dothan, however, will present Bainbridge with a strong combination of the ground and air attack.

Unable to play last week with a leg infection, senior running back Tyson Williams is expected to return for the game against the Bearcats.

“They are pretty balanced when (Williams) is in there,” Littleton said.

Quarterback Bubba McDaniel, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound athlete, is elusive on his feet and throws the ball well, Littleton added.

Bainbridge’s offense found a rhythm against Early County last week. Quarterback Brett McLaughlin was 8-for-20 for 97 yards and touchdown passes to Will Kelley, Alex McGivern and Zyon McGee. Signs are pointing to the Bearcats’ offense picking up speed, but a stout Tiger defense will test it.

Running multiple formations, moving from a 3-4 to an even front at times, the Tigers are big on the line and won’t hesitate to shut down Bainbridge’s run game and force passes.

“They have some big kids,” Littleton said. “You got to beat them off the ball, and you got to use your hat and your hands. You got to punch and separate from them, pad under pad.”

Bainbridge’s offensive line has improved every game since the season opener against Lee County, giving McLaughlin ample time to make reads and connect with receivers and open holes for Dameon Pierce, who rushed for 121 yards on 13 carries for three touchdowns against the Bobcats last Friday.

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