Cam Sanders throws four touchdowns in Bearcats’ win over Ware County

Published 1:57 am Saturday, September 23, 2023

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The Bearcats jumped to a 14-point lead in the first half, proving too much for Ware County to overcome. 

Bainbridge head coach Jeff Littleton said focus was critical to the win.

“Offense, defense, special teams, they didn’t worry about the other side of the ball or the other phases,” Littleton said. “They took care of their jobs.”

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Senior Quarterback Cam Sanders threw four touchdowns in the victory. 

“What did I tell you before the game,” quarterbacks coach Mike Harville asked Sanders after the win. “I said your best game’s a’waiting.”

Sanders threw two touchdowns to senior wide receiver Antavious Murphy. Murphy scored three touchdowns and all of the team’s scores in the first half, in the win.

Sanders connected with senior wide receiver Darius Mills for his third touchdown. Mills made a contested, diving catch to secure the ball in the back of the end zone.

Sander delivered his fourth touchdown to senior wide receiver CJ Sanders, his twin brother. 

“I trust my receivers,” Sanders said. “Some of them, they weren’t completely open, but I’ve got to trust them. I talked to them before the game, and I let them know I trust them.” 

The Bearcats opened with a touchdown on the first possession of the game. The team drove down the field meticulously, taking advantage of plays out wide. Littleton said his game plan was to keep the ball close to the sideline and away from Ware County’s oppressive defensive line.

Murphy made it into the end zone for the Bearcats. Sanders pitched Murphy the ball to run out wide and passed the pylon. After a successful point-after attempt from senior kicker Nicholas Tyre, the score was 7-0 Bearcats. The score was the first of three touchdowns for Murphy.

It took just one play for the Gators to tie the game up. 

Junior quarterback Luke Hooks launched a pass toward sophomore wide receiver Jamario Rice in Bearcat territory. Junior wide receiver/defensive back Luke Griffin went up for a pass breakup that got tipped into Rice’s hands. Rice secured the ball and ran it into the end zone to make the score 7-7

“It’s going to be a game, baby,” defensive line coach Brian McCorkle said to his players after the long touchdown.

Sanders and Murphy responded for the Bearcats on the next drive. After driving to the six-yard line, the seniors connected in the end zone to make the score 14-7. 

After an unsuccessful drive from both teams, the Bearcats were forced to punt. Tyre punted the ball from the Bearcat’s 44-yard line. The ball took a Bainbridge bounce, and Griffin secured it on the one-yard line, putting the Gators in dangerous territory. 

The Bearcat defense kept the Gators from earning a first down, forcing them to punt out of their end zone. The Bearcats received the punt and reached the Ware County 24-yard line. Sanders and Murphy connected once more after receiving the ball with favorable field position. The touchdown made the score 21-7 Bearcats, with all three touchdowns coming from Murphy reaching the end zone. 

The score would stay that way into halftime.

“We were just taking what the defense was giving us and executing,” Littleton said.

The game was back and forth in the second half. Ware County opened up the half with a rushing touchdown, making the score 21-14. The Bearcats later answered with a diving catch from Mills in the back of the end zone to increase the Bearcat’s lead to 28-14. The Gators drove down the field in the ensuing drive and scored again, making the game 28-21. 

The Bearcats got the ball with 9 minutes to go and a seven-point lead. If they failed to score a touchdown on this drive, the Gators would get the ball back with plenty of time to tie the game up.

Sanders had a different idea, connecting with his twin brother CJ in the end zone to bring the score to 35-21. 

Ware County received the ball with five minutes to go. The Gators drove into Bearcat territory, making it inside the 10-yard line. From there, Ware County had four attempts to score.

After three unsuccessful attempts, the Gators faced a fourth down within striking distance of a touchdown. The team snapped the ball to Hooks, who started rolling to his right to find an open man in the end zone. 

Bearcats Junior linebacker Braylon Phillips caught up to Hooks as he was rolling and hit him as he threw the ball. The pass  went incomplete, forcing a turnover on downs and securing the win. 

The Bearcats ran out the clock with running plays on the ensuing possession.

The defense was essential to the Bearcats’ win, and the four-down stand punctuated it.

“We were trying to keep everything in front of us and make tackles and make them earn everything,” Littleton said. “If we make the offense earn it, they’ve got to execute. It goes back to execution, and they didn’t execute. We executed what we had planned to do.”

Up next for the Bearcats is Brooks County. They take on the Trojans at home Friday, Kickoff at 7:30 p.m.