Bearcats ‘refocus’ before heading to Tallahassee

Published 5:54 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Coach Jeff Littleton said the Bainbridge Bearcats this week are refocusing and working on correcting mistakes made against the Dothan Tigers last Friday. The Bearcats dropped to 1-3 this season after losing at home to Dothan 13-6. Tiger quarterback Bubba McDaniel rushed for 127 yards and threw for 196 on their way to the win.

The loss has brought up a lot of questions for the Bainbridge team, all of which the coaches and players are trying to answer this week.

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“We just haven’t been able to be consistent on anything that we have done,” Littleton said. “We have to go back and work on our fundamentals. We have to get simpler and get good at something.”

Some things on offense and defense are being tweaked this week, Littleton said. Last week, Bainbridge amounted to 166 yards on offense and had six first downs against Dothan. To beat this Friday’s opponent, Rickards of Tallahassee, Bainbridge will have to click better in all positions.

“When you make a mistake on offense, it can ruin the entire play,” Littleton said. “So all 11 have to be clicking together and work together.”

Rickards (3-1) is entering its fourth year under coach Quintin Lewis, and are led by an experienced group of seniors, particularly in quarterback D.J. Phillips. In four games, Phillips is 41-for-75 passing with 752 yards. He has also rushed for 140 yards on 17 carries.

Running back Destin Coates accounts for 563 yards of offense on 57 carries and nine touchdowns this season. Wide receiver Javon Wooten has scored four touchdowns on 13 receptions for 157 yards.

The Raiders have weapons, and it will be a grind for the Bainbridge defense to stop them.

“We’ve got to make sure we don’t miss any assignments defensively or we are going to miss some big plays,” Littleton said. “We did OK last week. We let the quarterback loose a couple times. We were in some passing situations where we got a little too far up field and opened up some running lanes for the quarterback on some long yardage situations. But we have played the run fairly well.”

The Raiders defense are based out of a 4-3 formation, and will walk their linebackers to the line of scrimmage and they bring another one to the box to shut down heavy run games. Cornerback Tavyn Jackson leads a strong secondary that keeps the opponent’s pass game under control.

“We’ve got to mix up the run and pass with play action,” Littleton said. “We have to be able to throw the ball downfield to keep the defense from stacking everybody in the box.”

Bainbridge kicks off against Rickards Friday at 7 p.m. at Gene Cox Stadium in Tallahassee.