Bearcats clinch playoff berth with shutout victory over Harris County

Published 10:55 pm Friday, October 28, 2016

The Bearcats are playoff bound.

Bainbridge (3-5, 2-1 Region 1-AAAAA) clinched a postseason berth Friday night by shutting out Harris County (3-5, 0-3) 13-0 in Hamilton.

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“I saw a team that went to work this week knowing we had a three-hour bus ride and knowing we had to take care of business to clinch a playoff spot,” coach Jeff Littleton said.

Quarterback Mark Loeffler started for Bainbridge, replacing an injured Brett McLaughlin. Loeffler was 6-for-15 passing with 82 yards and two interceptions. He helped set up a touchdown by connecting with wide receiver Aaron Spivie for a 70-yard gain.

“We just have to keep moving forward,” Loeffler said. “We look forward to next week. We knew we had to get this game, which meant getting in the playoffs.”

Dameon Pierce scored Bainbridge’s lone offensive touchdown of the night on a 19-yard charge, spinning and dragging defenders into the end zone. Pierce rushed for 162 yards on 29 carries. He scored with a minute left in the first quarter, but the extra point snap was botched and Bainbridge led 6-0.

The Bearcats and Tigers traded series for the rest of the half, with the Bainbridge defense keeping Harris County from passing the 50-yard line.

On Harris County’s first drive of the second half, Bainbridge forced a four-and-out. The Tiger’s punt snap was dropped and bounced in the end zone. Kerenski Williams recovered it for a touchdown, putting Bainbridge up 13-0 after a successful extra point from Caleb Harris.

“I saw the ball, and all 11 hats got to the ball,” Williams said about scoring. “(The win) means a lot. We know we were 2-5 in the regular season, but we had to step up.”

Neither Bainbridge or Harris County scored for the rest of the night. Bainbridge sealed the victory with a final series of running plays and getting into the victory formation as the clock ran out.

“We made some mistakes, but we played hard, so I’m proud of that,” Littleton said. “We didn’t give up any big plays defensively, and we had some sustained drives offensively and we actually made a couple plays tonight on offense. That’s what we got to have, more of.”

Bainbridge returns next week against Warner Robins at Centennial Field.

“We’re against a really good Warner Robins team that is getting better toward the end of the season,” Littleton said. “We are going to go to work on Monday and fix these mistakes and get back to work.”

Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.