Bainbridge battles through injuries, slow first half to overcome Cairo

Published 11:49 pm Friday, August 24, 2018

Bainbridge’s players and coaches looked exhausted Friday night after the rivalry game against Cairo at Centennial Field.

That didn’t take away from their smiles and excitement, though.

After a first half that slowed to a grind for the Bainbridge offense, the Bearcats (2-0) were able to adjust and pull out a 15-7 win against the Syrupmakers.

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“We found a way to win the game,” said Littleton. “We were down for most of the game, but our kids just kept fighting and we found a way to win.”

Bainbridge couldn’t seem to put together a successful offensive series in the first half. The defense kept Cairo (0-2) from putting the game out of reach early, but even it gave up a touchdown to make it 7-0 at the half.

Coaches made adjustments. Players refocused. The fans made noise. Bainbridge got back in it.

The Bearcats finally put points on the board in the third quarter after a long, steady march down the field fueled by running backs Rashad Broadnax and Caleb McDowell.

Broadnax, who finished the night with 26 carries for 140 yards and a touchdown, punched it in for the score. After a Cairo penalty moved Bainbridge about a yard from the end zone, Broadnax took the ball again for a 2-point conversion and gave the Bearcats an 8-7 lead.

“We ran the ball hard and we were pushing the line of scrimmage, so I felt good about that,” said Littleton.

Bainbridge looked rejuvenated after the go-ahead touchdown. When Cairo threatened to score again, taking the ball down to Bainbridge’s 5-yard line, linebacker Randy Fillingame stripped the ball and ran it back 46 yards. The turnover set up Bainbridge’s next touchdown, a 5-yard scamper into the end zone by sophomore running back Tevin McCray.

“We just practiced it,” said Fillingame. “Coach throws adversity at us, we practice 2 minute drills. We just go through it, and it works. We just have to keep working. We know we’re not the best right now. We are going to keep putting bricks on top of bricks. It’s a team effort.”

“It feels great,” said McCray about the touchdown. “We have been working for it all week.”

Littleton said McCray was a player that stood out on special teams, and he deserved the opportunity to run the ball when Broadnax was worn down and McDowell was pulled from the game with a knee injury.

Bainbridge was up 15-7 with a minute and a half left in the game. Cairo marched to about midfield, but wasn’t able to convert on fourth down. Bainbridge took the victory formation and ran out the clock from there.

Littleton is 4-3 against the Syrupmakers as Bainbridge’s head coach. Friday night marked the first time since Littleton took over as coach that Bainbridge has won a game against Cairo on its home field.

The Bearcats kick off against Lincoln (Tallahassee) next Thursday at 7 p.m. at Gene Cox Stadium.