Bearcats run over Whitewater to advance to second round

Published 11:20 pm Friday, November 11, 2016

By Powell Cobb

Managing editor

Dameon Pierce made it look easy Friday night, scoring six touchdowns to carry Bainbridge to a 50-12 win over Whitewater (8-3) in the first round of State Playoffs at Centennial Field.

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Pierce rushed for 164 yards on 22 carries. He scored five touchdowns in the first half alone, including one on a 77-yard race to the end zone after a short dump pass from quarterback Brett McLaughlin.

“You know they run a 50-man front and it’s going to be difficult to find a holes out on the outside and inside,” Pierce said. “Tonight we made a way to find them and everything was clicking on offense. There were a couple of dropped balls that we should have caught but that’s nothing that practice can’t fix.”

Donovan McCray (36 yards, 6 carries) scored Bainbridge’s final touchdown of the night with 3:29 left in the third quarter to make the score 50-6.

The Wildcats turned the ball over four times, and Bainbridge (5-5) scored off every one of them.

“It always helps to have turnovers,” coach Jeff Littleton said. “I mean, you know, we preach turnovers. You know, great tackling, not giving them big plays and when you come up with the turnovers, that gives us extra possessions.”

Bainbridge scored on its opening drive and took the opportunity to go for a 2-point conversion after two off sides penalties from the Wildcats.

Up 8-0, Bainbridge scored again almost immediately after Wildcat quarterback Stone Kasten threw a backwards pass that was dropped and recovered by Kerenski Williams. Two plays and 20 yards later, Pierce found the end zone and Bainbridge was leading 15-0.

The Wildcats fumbled again on their next possession, and Bainbridge marched the ball from its own 42 down the field. McLaughlin connected with Aaron Spivie for 15 yards and Alex McGivern for 36 yards, and Pierce handled the rest to make the score 22-0.

Whitewater scored on its next possession on a pass from Kasten to Hunter Williams, but Kerenski Williams blocked the extra point attempt and the score was 22-6.

With 4:21 left in the second quarter, Pierce rushed for his fourth touchdown, and finished off the half with a 77-yard touchdown reception.

The Wildcats added another touchdown to the board with 1:16 left in the third quarter, but the extra point kick was no good, and the score stayed at 50-12 for the remainder of the game.

“Their offense was tough,” free safety Zyon McGee said. “We had to fulfill our roles and tasks. At times, it was hard to cover the pass, but coach kept telling me to keep following them and I’d be alright.”

McLaughlin was 5-for-15 with 156 yards and a touchdown pass.

Bainbridge has never won back-to-back first round playoff games in the program’s history. Last year, the Bearcats defeated Griffin at home 35-7.

“It’s the first time in Bainbridge history we’ve won back-to-back (first roundplayoff games),” guard Christian Glover said. “That’s a real accomplishment.”

Bainbridge will travel to Rome (9-2) for the second round of the State Playoffs. The Wolves defeated Miller Grove 56-0 in the first round of State Playoffs at Rome High School.

Littleton said traveling 268 miles to compete affects a football team, but the Bearcats will stay motivated for what’s ahead.

“We try to make it as simple and similar as you can,” Littleton said. “There are 16 teams left in 5A, and we’ve got motivation to do whatever we have to do to play good football.”

The Bearcats will kick off against the Wolves at 7:30 p.m.