‘There’s no lay down in none of us’: Bearcats stay determined after 14-23 loss to Coffee High School

Published 12:43 pm Saturday, August 26, 2023

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The Bainbridge Bearcats fell to the Coffee Trojans 14-23.

“We played hard for the most part, but we didn’t execute some assignments, and we had some penalties that we don’t normally have,” Head Coach Jeff Littleton said. “ When you make mistakes like that… you get beat by a good football team.”

The game stayed close throughout. Both teams scored on their opening drives, and neither team had a lead of more than four points until the end of the game. 

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Senior running back Keenan Phillips opened the game for the Bearcats with a 70-yard kickoff return to the Trojan 14-yard line. Senior quarterback Cam Smith threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Antavious Murphy two plays later, making the score 7-0 

Coffee returned the favor on the ensuing drive, scoring a touchdown on a 4th down, making the score 7-7

Phillips had another significant gain for the Bearcats on the next drive, setting them up well into Trojan territory. Bainbridge drove the ball inside the 5-yard line but was unsuccessful on a 4th down scoring attempt.

After a Bearcat defensive stop and penalty-ridden offensive drive, Coffee scored a field goal, making it 7-10.

Murphy had a big reception on the Bearcats’ ensuing offensive drive, putting them close to the endzone and eventually leading to a 1-yard Phillips TD. The touchdown put Bainbridge up 14-10.

Senior Coffee running back Fred Brown found his stride on the Trojans’ next possession, giving the Bearcats trouble down the field. The Trojans repeatedly sent the 5’10, 200-pound running back at the Bainbridge line, leading to a handful of 4-5-yard gains. The Trojans would go on to score but miss the point after attempt, putting them up 14-16.

After an unsuccessful drive from both teams, the first half ended. The Bearcats were visibly frustrated going into the locker room at halftime.

The second half was less eventful from a scoring standpoint. Only one more touchdown was scored, but the entire half was hard-fought from both sides. 

The Bearcats made adjustments at halftime to respond to Brown and Coffee’s run game. Bainbridge defenders started meeting the Trojan running backs behind the line of scrimmage and making tackles for losses.

The Trojans scored in the fourth quarter, making it 14-23 and, more importantly, a two-possession game. The Bearcats had a few chances to assemble a scoring drive but were unsuccessful. After a failed 4th down attempt with 3:27 left, The Trojans gained possession of the ball and kneeled the clock out. 

“We’ve been here before, we know how to handle it, you saw their spirit right there,” Littleton said in reference to the team’s post-game huddle. “There’s no lay down in none of us. Coaches or players.”