Running game propels Bearcats over Lincoln in home opener

Published 12:14 am Saturday, September 2, 2017

Lincoln pushed Friday night, but Bainbridge pushed back even harder.

The Bearcats opened at home, running back Dameon Pierce scored five touchdown and Bainbridge (1-1) came out on top in a back-and-forth match at Centennial Field.

Pierce rushed for 312 yards on 27 carries. He scored three touchdowns in three consecutive touches late in the third and early in the fourth quarter to give Bainbridge a major momentum swing. Those three touchdown runs alone accounted for 176 of his yards.

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“It’s a small step forward,” Pierce said, praising the offensive line for their work in the trenches. “We still have bigger things to do. I’m just glad we got the win.”

The Bearcats led 14-7 at halftime, and the Trojans (0-2) opened fire to tie the game at 14-14 in the third quarter. A blocked extra point attempt on the Trojans third touchdown gave Bainbridge the edge at 21-20, and the home team simply outscored them from there.

“We made adjustments at halftime and just wore them out,” offensive lineman Hudson Barber said. “We have plenty of momentum on the offense. We have to minimize the mistakes. Watch the film. Just get better. We know we can put up points now, we just have to do it every game.”

The game didn’t go by without a threat or two, though. The Trojans made it a one-score game at 34-27 with just more than 7 minutes left to go.

A missed point after attempt on Bainbridge’s previous touchdown looked like it might come back to haunt the Bearcats, but a safety on the Trojans spread the score. Pierce added his own touch on the next possession with his final touchdown, a 22-yarder right down the middle of the field.

Quarterback Mark Loeffler was 8-of-17 passing for 64 yards and a touchdown. Adrian Cooper, one of Loeffler’s favorite targets for the night, caught a 13-yard pass on the Bearcats’ opening drive to make the score 7-0.

“We dropped some passes in the first half,” coach Jeff Littleton said. “We got to get better at a lot of mistakes we made.”

Bainbridge’s inability to practice outdoors because of storms this week had an effect on the players’ conditioning, Littleton said. Starters on both sides of the ball were struggling, but Bainbridge was able to piece it together.

“We were dropping like flies,” Littleton said.

Bainbridge will travel to Cairo next Friday to play The Syrupmakers at 7:30 p.m.