Tuesday was for Bainbridge

Published 4:44 pm Friday, December 14, 2018

Can you believe it?

Bainbridge’s state championship win on Tuesday will go down in the history books as one of the greatest sports stories in Georgia history. It certainly is in contention for the greatest sports story ever in Bainbridge.

The unranked Bearcats beat five Top 8 teams in five weeks, despite entering the playoffs with a 5-5 record. They weren’t favored in a single one of those games.

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Despite losing four in a row earlier this season, at a time where everything looked to be over, our Bearcats kept fighting

Despite getting shutout at home 23-0 to Crisp County, our Bearcats ignored the chatter and got back to work.

Despite enduring the biggest hurricane to ever hit Georgia, where homes were destroyed and basic luxuries like hot water and electricity were gone for weeks, our Bearcats practiced.

And best of all, despite losing 38-0 to Warner Robins on Oct. 19, our Bearcats challenged themselves to not lose again. They didn’t. Not even when fate matched them up against the Demons in the Class AAAAA State Championship game on Tuesday.

Our Bearcats weren’t coming home without that trophy. I guess Dec. 11 is just Bainbridge’s day. They won it on Dec. 11 in 1982, and 36 years later they won it again on the same day.

As I’ve watched from the sidelines this season, I’ve seen these kids wear utter disappointment on their faces too many times to count. Frustration. Disbelief. Anger. It was incredible to see the total opposite throughout the playoffs. They were ecstatic, in orbit, grinning from ear-to-ear after every win. They never took a single second for granted, and I think that’s why they pulled off some of those incredible victories like against Wayne County, Buford and Stockbridge. It was never enough just to be there in the quarterfinals, the semifinals or the championship game. They had to win it.

Credit is due where credit is due. The Bainbridge coaching staff never gave up on these kids. The community kept cheering. The players kept grinding. When the moment in that Mercedes-Benz Stadium limelight came, they pounced to the tune of a 28-0 lead. Then 35-7. Then came 28 unanswered points and Warner Robins tied it 35-35.

But it gets better.

Then came Roman Harrison’s blocked field goal that would’ve given the Demons the lead with just seconds left on the clock. Then came Caleb Harris’s two field goals in overtime to keep Bainbridge in the game. Then came Quayde Hawkins’s keep-and-score. Then came Bainbridge’s defensive stop on the final series of the game.

Then came glory.

Congratulations, Bainbridge. It’s time to celebrate like it’s 1982.