Bearcats still fighting

Published 6:27 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bainbridge may be 1-1 in Region 1-AAAAA, but is still fighting for a chance at second place and hosting the first round of the State Playoffs at Centennial Field.

The Bearcats (2-5) fell to Thomas County Central 17-6 last Friday, and also watched many key players fall with injuries. Quarterback Brett McLaughlin was benched with a high ankle sprain and Will Kelley, a sure-handed tight end and linebacker, was pulled out with a concussion.

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Backup quarterback Mark Loeffler is taking the majority of reps at practice while McLaughlin remains on a day-by-day basis.

Now the Bearcats are trying to regroup and refocus for Friday’s game against Harris County (3-5, 0-2 Region 1-AAAAA).

“We had a good practice yesterday and have a good attitude. We know what we have to do,” coach Jeff Littleton said. “We can’t sit here and feel sorry for ourselves.”

Littleton added that players need to step up and control the game. Against the Yellow Jackets, Bainbridge wasn’t able to key in on scoring opportunities that could have led them to a win, including failing to score after recovering a TCC fumble on their own 18-yard line.

“We just have to make plays, make more plays,” he said. “We are getting into position a lot of times and aren’t making plays, on both sides of the ball.”

Harris County is led on offense by quarterback Jordan Griffin, who has completed 92 of 174 passes for 1,046 yards and six touchdowns. Griffin’s favorite receivers are Xavier Gonzalez (25 receptions, 314 yards, 3 TD) and Tyrese McPhatter (21 receptions, 263 yards, 1 TD).

The Tigers’ leading rusher is sophomore Cal’Von Harris, who has racked up 634 yards on 85 carries for five touchdowns. Senior James Adams has six touchdowns off 364 yards and 69 carries. Griffin himself can also run the ball well, rushing for 205 yards on 62 carries for a couple of touchdowns.

“Their offensive line comes off the ball really well,” Littleton said. “We are going to have to have a good week of practice and try to take away some of those things they do. Mainly stop the run first.”

Linebacker D’Monte Huling is Harris County’s ringleader on defense. He leads the team with 37 tackles, 21 assists and two sacks. Anothony Wortham is another linebacker to look out for with 36 solo tackles so far this season.

Bainbridge can clinch a playoff spot Friday with a win against Harris County, but controls its own destiny for a second place berth in the playoffs by winning out against the Tigers and the final game against Warner Robins next Friday.

The Bearcats still have a fighting chance of back-to-back Region Championships, but will need a little help from other teams around the region.

If Bainbridge wins out, Thomas County Central will need to lose its final game of the season against Harris County for the Bearcats to tie Veterans with 3-1 region records. Bainbridge would win the tiebreaker for beating Veterans 31-6 on Oct. 7.

Bainbridge kicks off against Harris County at 7:30 p.m. in Hamilton (Harris County High School).