Glory to Bainbridge

Published 11:46 pm Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Hollywood couldn’t have written it better than this.

Bainbridge beat Warner Robins 47-41 in triple overtime Tuesday night in Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the 2018 Class AAAAA State Championship.

The Bearcats were 5-5 going into the playoffs and went on a five-game winning streak that saw the team taking down half of the top-ranked programs in the state.

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“They don’t quit,” said coach Jeff Littleton. “That’s the key. They believe in our process. They work the process. The process is no good without them doing it and believing it.”

Bainbridge was tied 35-35 at the end of regulation and took the Demons to triple overtime. In the third overtime tied 41-41, Bainbridge quarterback Quayde Hawkins took the ball and ran it 15-yards for the go-ahead touchdown. A mandatory 2-point conversion pass fell incomplete.

Up 47-41, Bainbridge’s defense drew a line in the turf and kept Warner Robins out of the end zone. After the final pass from Demons quarterback Dylan Fromm was ruled incomplete, the Bainbridge sideline stormed the field.

The Bearcats last won, and played in, a state championship game in 1982.

“We just wanted it more than they did,” said offensive lineman Jacob McLaughlin. “They were here last year. They didn’t want it as much as us. Going through Hurricane Michael and stuff. Going from 2-4 to here. They didn’t want it as much as we did.”

The Bearcats’ defense was explosive. The first two touchdowns came from a blocked Warner Robins punt ran back by Anthony Brooks and a pick-6 from Bryce Worthy.

Bainbridge scored a third time in the first quarter on a halfback pass from Caleb McDowell to Aaron Spivie, who snagged it from between the hands of two Demon defenders.

McDowell found the end zone himself after another big catch and run from Spivie. McDowell weaved through defenders and trotted across the goal line to give Bainbridge a 28-0 lead in the first half.

Warner Robins found the end zone before halftime and Bainbridge entered the locker room up 28-7.

The Bearcats came back on fire in the second half, with Deyon Bouie picking a pass from Fromm and taking it all the way back for a touchdown and a 35-7 lead for Bainbridge.

Then the Demons got back in it. Bainbridge gave up 28 unanswered points as Warner Robins fought with everything to finish the game and claim its first state title since 2004. The Bearcats blocked a 27-yard field goal attempt with 6 seconds left on the clock to send the game into overtime.

“It was something we knew we had to do with all of our might,” said defensive end Roman Harrison,who pulled off the stops in clutch moments. “Every play was important.”

Bainbridge got the ball first in overtime and settled for a 27-yard field goal from kicker Caleb Harris. The Demons kicked a field goal as well, then got the ball back and kicked another one to take a 41-38 lead. Harris hit a 36-yarder for the 41-41 tie at the end of double overtime.

“The second one I wasn’t really thinking about it as much,” said Harris. “There was pressure on me though, because it was to tie. It was scary, but it’s just the nervousness of everybody watching you.”

Then came Hawkins amazing touchdown run for a 47-41 lead and the Bearcat defenses’ final stop.

The Bainbridge Bearcats are now 2018 State Champions.