Bainbridge shuts out Early County 43-0

Published 11:15 pm Friday, September 15, 2017

Bainbridge only punted once Friday night as they went on to score on every drive but their last, and the Bearcats (3-1) beat Early County 43-0 at Centennial Field.

Despite an unusual practice schedule this week with Tropical Storm Irma hitting our region, coach Jeff Littleton was impressed with the level of focus his team brought to get the shutout win.

“We brought them in on some different times, trying to schedule around the storm,” Littleton said. “I felt like our kids handled it very well. It’s just a tribute to them to be able to handle a different schedule, and it’s a great job by our coaches of doing a good job of scheduling things. I was proud of everybody.”

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Bainbridge’s first series was a three-and-out, but the home team got the ball back and went on a scoring spree that put them up 43-0 before the end of the third quarter.

Dameon Pierce rolled over the Bobcats (3-2, 0-0 AA) with four touchdowns. He rushed for 104 yards on 16 carries, leaving defenders on the ground behind him as he stiff-armed and bulldozed his way to the end zone throughout the night. His longest run was a 21-yarder for his first score.

The Bearcat defense forced five three-and-outs, three turnovers and held Early County to 102 yards of total offense.

Caleb McDowell, coming into his first game after a concussion against Lee County at the beginning of the season, intercepted a pass and returned it 42 yards to the Early County 10-yard line, resulting in a field goal from Caleb Harris and the final points scored in the game.

“All the people were on the right side, and open grass on the left, so I just cut it left,” McDowell said. “My team pulled it through. They had great blocks. It was a heck of a return.”

Littleton said he wanted to see McDowell get down after the interception, but admitted he loved seeing him return it like he did.

“You do enjoy watching him run,” he said with a smile.

Quarterback Mark Loeffler was 9-of-14 for 157 yards and a touchdown pass to La’Derrick Murphy. Murphy cut across the middle of the field and trotted into the end zone untouched, a 27-yard score.

“I got open right in the middle, and I caught it and ran in the end zone,” Murphy said. “It felt great.”

Markel Broadnax also rushed for a touchdown to make the score 33-0 in the third quarter.

Bainbridge missed its extra points on the second and third touchdowns of the night, but completed the other four.

“When you execute offensively and defensively like we did, it’s good to see,” Littleton said.

Bainbridge continues next Friday against Sarasota (Florida) at Centennial Field. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.