Bearcats Dominate Patriots on Homecoming Night

Published 10:13 pm Friday, October 7, 2022

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On a night where everyone in Decatur County had their eyes on Centennial Field, the Bainbridge Bearcats dominated homecoming night as they defeated the Westover Patriots 59-7. Earning their third win on homecoming night, the Bearcats opened region play 1-0 as they move into the second half of the season.

The Bearcats saw a fast start as kicker Nicholas Tyre successfully executed an onside kick to start the game as the Bearcats started with optimal field position. Just two plays later, quarterback Bo Smith called his own number and took a 22-yard run into the end zone to give the Bearcats a 7-0 lead with just a minute gone in the game.

Head Coach Jeff Littleton emphasized the importance of starting fast and being able to capitalize on every offensive possession.

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“Starting fast is always important but not only do we want to start fast, we want to finish,” said Littleton. “We had a lot of kids getting reps and that’s huge both for the health of our starters and to be able to give younger guys experience for the future.”

Defensively, the Bearcats defense was aggressive as usual as they opened their first drive with a three and out as linebacker Tevon Moore fired into the backfield and sacked Patriots quarterback Keyon Thomas on third down.

The Bearcats offense picked up right where they left off as the passing game began to found their grove as Bo Smith connected with Keenan Phillips for a 36-yard touchdown as the Bearcats took a two possession lead.

After another defensive stop, speedster Antavious Murphy saw his opportunity to make a play as he took a pitch 35 yards into the end zone, pushing the Bearcats lead to 21-0

Shortly after, Smith showed off his arm strength as he ripped a 65-yard pass downfield and found Murphy again for a touchdown, extending the Bearcat lead 28-0, all before the first quarter ended.

Being able to start fast and set the tone for the rest of the game is something Coach Littleton has preached and worked on with his team all season and they saw it come to a reality tonight, putting up a 28-0 shutout after the first.

The second quarter was just as dominant for the Bearcats as their first offensive drive resulted in a 57-yard touchdown strike to Antavious Murphy.  After a Nicholas Tyre field goal and a muffed punt recovery, the Bearcats had a 38-7 lead with just 11 seconds left in the half.

Special teams made a tremendous difference in tonight’s game as it not only gave the Bearcats opportunities to score, but it shifted momentum.

“Special teams is an important part of what we do and we work on it every day,” said Littleton. “To start the game with an onside kick was our plan when we sent our captains out for the coin toss because we saw something and our guys came out and they executed.”

With time running down, running back Keenan Phillips made the play of the day as he took a 15 yard carry into the end zone, diving over a defender before being pushed out of bounds over the pylon. Phillips touchdown gave the Bearcats a 45-7 lead as they went into halftime.

The homecoming festivities took place at halftime, featured the Pride of Decatur County Band’s breathtaking performance along with the homecoming court dressed in their finest garb as they were escorted out to midfield where Sanaa Hines was named Maid of Honor and Saraiyah Porter was crowned homecoming queen.

The Bearcats continued their dominance in the second half as they walked away with a 59–7 win for their third win of the season and first win in their region.

“It was our first region game and we set a precedent at the beginning of the week that we wanted to come out and dominate,” said Littleton. “We had a great week of practice and our kids really stepped up.”

Next week the Bearcats will travel to Columbus to take on Shaw where they look to improve to 2-0 in their region.