Bainbridge looks to begin region schedule with win over Veterans

Published 3:36 pm Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Everybody in Region 1-AAAAA is 0-0 now, as Bainbridge Coach Jeff Littleton likes to say.

The region schedule provides a clean slate for each of the five teams in the region, Bainbridge included. The GHSA state playoff seeds teams based on region record, and region record alone. The results of the next four games on Bainbridge’s schedule—Veterans, Warner Robins, Harris County and Thomas County Central—will determine the Bearcats seeding and whether they host a playoff game at Centennial Field in round one.

Naturally, the Bearcats want to start things off with a bang—and a W.

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Glancing at Bainbridge’s non-region record up to this point, the Bearcats look to be in a pretty good spot. Last Friday saw the Tift County Blue Devils (1-7A) beat the Bearcats 24-6, Bainbridge’s only blemish on its record so far this season.

“We are still confident coming off of our non-region schedule finishing 5-1,” said Littleton. “We have gotten better at some things, and we still have to work on some things.”

Penalties and fundamentals, two of the biggest areas Littleton has repeatedly said need improvement, are a continuous work in progress. Last Friday in Tifton, the Bearcats gave up 45 yards to the Blue Devils in penalties to Tift County’s 10 yards. Two weeks ago against Crisp County, Bainbridge gave up 80 penalty yards to the Cougars.

“Mainly we are still working on ourselves and still trying to develop some leadership and still trying to make sure everybody is pushing in the same direction,” said Littleton. “We are really working on making sure everybody is part of the solution.”

Veterans (5-1) comes into Friday’s matchup with Bainbridge looking for the same outcome: starting the region schedule off with a win. Last season, The Warhawks came to Bainbridge undefeated and lost to a 2-4 Bainbridge team. The Bearcats will meet Veterans in Kathleen this year.

On offense, the Warhawks often get in heavy sets, which Littleton noted could cause some matchup problems for the Bearcats.

“We are going to have to do some things to counter that,” said Littleton.

Quarterback Blake Ethridge (15) has 498 passing yards and 3 touchdowns under his belt. The rushing trio of Julian Barnes (27), Lebron Fields (3) and Kedrek Smith (10) have a combined 922 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“Defensively they are built to stop the run, so we are going to have to be balanced in our play calling to alleviate some of the problems they can cause us,” said Littleton.

Bainbridge kicks off against Veterans at 7:30 p.m. this Friday.