When it rains it pours: Bearcats fall to TCC in rainy home game

Published 10:04 am Saturday, September 2, 2023

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The rain started early in the second quarter, and Thomas County Central led 14-7. The Bearcats were unable to cut the TCC lead down to less than seven for the rest of the game. The Yellow Jackets went on to win 45-14.

“We played hard,” said head coach Jeff Littleton. “We just had five turnovers, and you can’t do that and beat a good football team.”

The first half was competitive. TCC jumped out to an early 14-0 lead with a rushing touchdown and an interception returned for a touchdown on consecutive drives. 

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The Bearcats answered on the next drive with a 27-yard touchdown from senior wide receiver Antavious Murphy. Senior quarterback Cam Sanders threw the touchdown pass and senior kicker Nicholas Tyre kicked a successful extra point, making the score 14-7. The rain started to come down after the score.

It was a defensive stalemate for most of the second quarter until Thomas County Central broke the silence with a receiving touchdown with less than 3 minutes left in the half. The touchdown made the score 21-7. 

Bainbridge put together a 2-minute drill punctuated by a 25+ yard screen pass to senior running back Keenan Phillips. Phillips brought the Bearcats inside the 10-yard line with just seconds left in the half. Bainbridge ran multiple plays and called all of their timeouts to try and punch the ball into the endzone before the half ended, but was unable to. The first half ended 21-7.

The rain continued to beat down on Centennial Feild through the third quarter. The Bearcat defense line came out strong in the second half. They successfully stymied the Yellow Jacket run attack for the entirety of the third quarter, ending most TCC drives in a punt. 

The Yellow Jackets opened the scoring first in the second half with a field goal, making the score 24-7.

The Bearcats responded on the next drive with two big-time plays accentuating it. The drive started with the Bearcats being pushed to 3rd and 15 on their side of the field. Quarterback Sanders dropped back in an attempt to pass for the 15 yards needed for the first down. 

He didn’t find a pass he liked, so he tucked the ball and sprinted toward the right sideline, picking up well over the 15 yards needed. On the next play, Sanders tossed a screen pass to Murphy that he ran for a 54-yard touchdown. The touchdown made the score 24-14 and would be the Bearcat’s final scoring play of the game.

The Bearcat defense found themselves with the Yellow Jacket offense standing inside the Bainbridge 20-yard line on the next drive. TCC tried to run the ball for a first down but was unsuccessful. Senior linebacker Javon Cox stripped the ball on an ensuing Yellow Jacket attempt, and the Bearcats recovered it. 

Thomas County Central scored three more touchdowns as the game progressed, leading to a final score of 45-14.

Littleton said that despite the team’s effort, the little things caught up to them.

“We’ve got to be able to focus and put together some back to back practices and do a better job,” Littleton said. “We’re not being disciplined in practice. We’re not focussing on our job, the task at hand, and the little things. That’s what happened to us tonight.”

The Bearcats travel to Thomasville High School on Friday for their next competition, kickoff at 8 p.m.