‘It’s a heavyweight championship bout’ Bearcats prepare for second round matchup against Perry

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, November 15, 2023

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The Bearcats prepare for the second round of playoffs with a matchup against Perry High School on Friday. Bainbridge is coming into the week off a 49-14 win over Trinity Christian, continuing a four year streak of beating first round opponents by 35 points or more.

Perry is 9-2 on the season and claims a No. 2 seed in the playoffs. The Panthers enters the week following a 35-14 win over Burke County. 

“It’s just exciting to go against such a caliber of a football team,” said Bearcat’s head coach Jeff Littleton. “It’s going to be a great atmosphere. It’s a challenge. These are the kinds of games that you’ll remember forever.”

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Senior quarterback Colter Ginn leads the Panthers offense but has been sidelined with a hand injury since Oct. 6.

The average recovery time for a hand injury for quarterbacks is around six weeks, according to Dr. Clifford Rios, Bone & Joint Institute orthopedic surgeon and board-certified in sports medicine, in a Hartford Healthcare article

Friday’s matchup would mark exactly six weeks since the injury, but the three-star recruit’s status for the game is still unclear. Junior quarterback Cullen McDaniel is expected to start if Ginn is not cleared to play.

“We’re planning for both of them,” Littleton said. “It’s going to be a similar game plan.”

Junior running back Ahmad Gordon has picked up the slack while the QB1 has been injured. Gordon has rushed for 1381 yards and 26 touchdowns this season — breaking the school’s previous rushing touchdown record of 18. 

Littleton said his defense must be disciplined to slow down the Panther’s scoring leader.

“We’ve got to get more people to the ball,” Littleton said. “We can’t be lackadaisical, we’ve got to get 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 kids hitting him.”

Littleton said the experience of his players will be critical to the teams’ success against Perry and through the playoffs. The Bearcats have 20 seniors on the roster, and this senior class has made it to the third round of playoffs or further in every year they’ve been varsity eligible.

“Experience always gives you an advantage,” Littleton said. “They’ve been there. They’ve battled. They’ve had adversity, and they’ve fought through adversity.”

The team is progressing, according to Littleton, and said that they started the week of practice off on a good foot.

“We had a spirited practice [Monday],” Littleton said. “The kids are locked in and focused.”

The Nov. 17 matchup will be at Centennial Field, Kickoff at 7 p.m.

“It’s two talented teams going up against each other,” Littleton said. “It’s a heavyweight championship bout.”