Bearcats eliminated from state playoffs in loss to Rome

Published 11:25 pm Friday, November 18, 2016

By Powell Cobb

Managing Editor

Bainbridge (5-6) started the second round of the State Playoffs strong against Rome, but couldn’t put together a scoring drive as the Wolves shutout the Bearcats 45-0 on Friday.

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Coach Jeff Littleton said it best after his no. 2 seed team was eliminated from the playoffs.

“We just got taken out of the game really early, and we couldn’t find a way to fight back,” Littleton said.

Rome (10-2) found its rhythm at the end of the first quarter, scoring three touchdowns in a four-minute span to lead 21-0 going into halftime. The Wolves racked up three more touchdowns in the third quarter and added a field goal in the fourth.

“You got to give them credit, they’re a good football team,” Littleton said. “It’s hard to fight back against a good football team like that. We dug ourselves in a hole. We took some chances to get back in the football game. A good football team capitalized on the mistakes we made.”

Dameon Pierce was held to 9 yards on 28 carries. He had five catches for 45 yards.

Brett McLaughlin had a solid start, completing 5 of 7 passes for 50 yards. The offense was held to three consecutive three-and-outs before putting together a 59-yard drive that took Bainbridge down to the 19-yard line. McLaughlin threw the ball four times but couldn’t connect with any receivers, turning the ball over on downs.

McLaughlin finished 13 for 26 with 127 passing yards and two interceptions.

After scoring halfway through the third quarter, the Wolves intercepted McLaughlin’s first pass of the next series and returned it for a 30-yard touchdown, making the score 35-0. Bainbridge was held to another three-and-out, then gave up another touchdown to make the score 42-0.

The Wolves’ field goal was a 21-yarder with 8:39 left in the game.

“On defense we did everything we could do, and on offense we did everything we could do,” linebacker Kerenski Williams said. “We wanted to play to the last play, and we did that.”

Running back Jamious Griffin had a big night for Rome, carrying the ball 27 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

Bainbridge gave up two touchdowns to trick plays. The first came on a 36-yard pass from quarterback Knox Kadum to Jordan Watkins after the ball was handed off to two other players, then tossed back to Kadum for the wide open throw.

The other was a pass in the flats to Jordan Watkins, who looked for an open receiver and then threw the ball back to Kadum, who was protected by three blockers as he hurried 26 yards into the end zone.

“We had some things where we didn’t do what we were supposed to do and we had some things break down,” Littleton said. “You have to be disciplined in this football game.”

Littleton said he was proud of the way his players, especially the seniors, fought through the game’s adversity. He also commented on the responsibility his players took later in the season.

“Early on we took some days off in practice with some kids that needed to step up and be leaders and change the way we were doing things,” he said. “We didn’t really get that until later in the season, and they know it. They were the ones that brought it up. That just shows you how they have grown to step up and take responsibility. All of us have to take responsibility of what we didn’t take advantage of early on in the season.”

Rome will continue on to the State Quarterfinals next Friday against Ware County (8-3).