Bainbridge rallies to swat Yellow Jackets in second round thriller

Published 11:58 pm Friday, November 16, 2018

It wasn’t the kind of first half Bainbridge was hoping for, but it made up for it in the second.

Down 12-6, Bainbridge scored 20 points and held off Wayne County to win the second round of the Class AAAAA State Playoffs and advance to play Buford next Friday in the Elite 8.

“There’s nothing like being a Bearcat on a Friday night,” said coach Jeff Littleton. The win marks the second time in six years his Bainbridge team has advanced to the Elite 8 round.

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Ball control and interceptions helped give Bainbridge the edge against Wayne County. The Bearcats were able to drain the clock on long drives, particularly on Bainbridge’s final march before turning the ball over on downs. With less than two minutes to play, Wayne County threw a long pass that was intercepted.

“I would like to say Wayne County is a good football team,” said Littleton. “They played a great game. But I am really so proud of our kids and our coaches. We have gone through a lot this year. It’s a credit to our athletes and our coaches that they believed in what we were doing the whole time. Nobody has ever flinched.”

The Yellow Jackets scored on their first drive and went up 7-0, but Bainbridge was able to respond with a touchdown from Quayde Hawkins on a 1-yard run, followed by a missed field goal.

A bad punt snap with less than a minute left in the first quarter gave Wayne County a safety and they went up 9-6.

Bainbridge found the end zone again on a pass from Hawkins to Adrian Cooper so the Bearcats could go up 13-12.

Caleb McDowell picked a pass and ran it 30 yards back for a touchdown to give Bainbridge a 19-12 lead, and McDowell scored again on the next offensive drive with a 75-yard run to put Bainbridge up 26-12.

“We made plays,” said Littleton. “We made some interceptions. Turnovers were there. We came up with the turnovers to overcome those big plays.”

Bainbridge will kick off at Buford at 7:30 p.m. next Friday.