Linebackers bring speed to Bainbridge Bearcat defense

Published 2:13 pm Friday, August 2, 2019

There’s been one clear theme with the Bainbridge defense this summer: it’s fast. The coaches are excited about the speed Bearcat players are showing at practice and at camps, especially at the linebacker position.

“We are going to be able to move around,” said linebackers coach Joe Dollar. “It’s going to be difficult to replace the guys who are gone, but we have the talent to do it.”

LaGrange College players Bryce Worthy and Randy Fillingame, who provided crucial senior leadership and talent for the Bainbridge defense deep into the 2018 State Class 5A Championship season, set the bar high for the linebacker corps.

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“Those guys that graduated, Bryce and Randy, they set the standard,” said Dollar. “If these guys can step up can live up to that expectation, we’re going to be OK.”

Clearly, Dollar fully expects the new group to pick up the torch and wreak havoc on opposing offenses.

Amari Peterson, a senior who played the most on last season’s squad, is a player Dollar is expecting to lead the group this year. Players Tevin McCray, Caleb Lewis and Rashad Broadnax, when he gets enough breaks from carrying the rock on offense, are also in the rotation.

Probably one of the biggest editions is the movement of junior Tahari Tate from defensive line to linebacker. Tate played 12 games last season and racked up 28 solo tackles, 7 assists and 4 sacks. He was explosive and difficult for offensive lines to contain in the playoffs, particularly in the state championship game against Warner Robins.

“He is still going to be heavily involved in the pass rush, but now he has a few more things on his plate,” said Dollar.