Bainbridge shows improvements in loss to Tift County

Published 11:15 pm Friday, September 28, 2018

Bainbridge’s energy in the first half hit a wall late in Friday’s game against Tift County as the Blue Devils stung Bainbridge 31-14 at Centennial Field.

The Bearcats (2-4) were leading Tift County 14-10 at halftime and showed signs of an explosive offense, something Bainbridge hasn’t been able to generate in the past few weeks. Special teams errors and a quick Blue Devils defense shut down Bainbridge in the second half.

“Our kids played their butts off,” said coach Jeff Littleton. “We really played well. We played well on defense and got after them and had some big licks. We did break down a couple of times, which is to be expected against a team like that, really talented across the board.”

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Tift County (4-2 AAAAAAA) fumbled on its first drive, with Randy Fillingame landing on the ball. Running back Caleb McDowell blasted down the field on a 70-yard run to put Bainbridge up 7-0. McDowell finished with 15 carries for 104 yards.

“We made a couple of big plays, something we haven’t been able to do,” said Littleton. “We showed improvement in a lot of areas. WE still have some work to do, but we have seen some improvement.”

The Blue Devils tied the game 7-7 with under a minute to go in the first quarter and kicked a field goal to grab the lead later in the second half.

After recovering a fumble on Tift County’s 34-yard line, Aaron Spivie ran the ball all the way to the end zone to put Bainbridge up 14-10. Tift County scored again on a quarterback keeper in the third quarter and twice more in the fourth, both on pass plays.

Bainbridge had six sacks throughout the night, but small breakdowns on defense kept the Blue Devils in the game.

Bainbridge switched between Deyon Bouie and Quayde Hawkins at quarterback, each bringing a new element to the offense. Bouie finished with 5 yards rushing and going 2-of-8 for 32 yards passing. Hawkins was 7-for-13 for 45 yards.

The plays were there for Bainbridge, but dropped passes and a defensive line that continued to push around the Bearcats at the line of scrimmage as the night went on wore them down. Punching Tift County in the mouth on the first drive was the attitude Littleton wanted to see from his players.

“That’s the thing we talked about. Let’s go out and earn some respect,” said Littleton. “And our kids did it. I’ll give them credit. They came out, we just didn’t finish. We have to learn how to handle adversity. That is something we are not doing very well.”

Running back Rashad Broadnax sat out for the game. He hurt his ankle last week against Crisp County.

Bainbridge returns to Centennial Field next Friday for a Homecoming game against the Veterans Warhawks. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.