Bearcats crush Cairo by 50 in region championship win

Published 2:58 pm Sunday, November 5, 2023

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The Bearcats rolled over rivals Cairo 56-6 Friday night. The win made the Bearcats GHSA 4A Region 1 champions and marked the end of the regular season. 

“I’m just really proud of our team,” said Bearcat’s head coach Jeff Littleton. “We’ve been preaching the discipline and the focus, and I really see the change in them… If we can stay disciplined and focused, that’s a big deal.”

Senior quarterback Cam Sanders had a career night, throwing five touchdowns and running for one. He credited the weight of the Cairo rivalry to his performance.

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“Just the emotion,” Sanders said. “Before the game, coach told us to turn it into passion for the game, and that’s what I did.”

On his final touchdown of the night, his rushing touchdown, he pointed to the sky as he crossed into the endzone.

“Before the game, my big brother told me to do it for my auntie,” Sanders said. “She’s passed, and I pointed up at the sky, ‘I’m doing this for you.’”

Sanders ended the night with 295 passing yards and 63 rushing yards.

“[Sanders is] very versatile,” Littleton said. “He can make you miss but also show some power as well. He makes the right decision most of the time, and we put a lot on him. It’s multiple, you know, he was hitting his third progression at times.”

Senior wide receiver Antavious Murphy had a busy night. The recent Georgia Southern commit was at the receiving end of three of Sanders’ touchdown passes. Murphy finished the night with 187 yards off of 9 receptions.

The Syrupmaker run defense was stifling, keeping the Bearcats’ rushing attack at bay for most of the game. It held senior running back Keenan Phillips to less than half his average rushing yards, but it wasn’t enough to keep him out of the endzone. Phillips scored one through the air and one on the ground. 

Senior wide receiver Corey “CJ” Sanders Jr., Cam Sanders’ twin brother, had a toe-tap, receiving touchdown late in the first quarter.

Sophomore Markavion Johnson-Smith capped off the Bearcats’ scoring with his first varsity touchdown. Johnson-Smith ran the ball through the endzone late in the fourth quarter.

The Bearcat Defense was stout, forcing punts on six of eight offensive Cairo drives. Junior defensive back TaShun Carter snagged a Cairo pass out of the air for an interception in the second half.

Up next for the Bearcats is round one of playoffs. They wil face Trinity Christian School at home on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m.

The Bearcats enter the playoffs as a No. 1 seed. Trinity Christian claims a No. 4 seed and will make the trip to Bainbridge from Sharpsburg, GA.

“Work starts on Saturday morning,” Littleton said after the game Friday night. “We’ve just got to, right now, take care of ourselves and show the discipline and focus that we’ve been doing. As long as we do that, It’ll be fun.”