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No. 8 ’Dawgs sluggish, but stay No. 1 in region


Campbell County gave Bearden all it wanted and more, but a second half surge gave the state’s No. 8-ranked Bulldogs the push it needed to get by the Cougars for a 28-13 homecoming game win Friday, Oct. 12, at Bearden’s Bill Young Field.

“They played tough but we didn’t play very good,” Bearden head coach Brad Taylor said. “We did some stupid things in the first half and just really weren’t ready to play football. I have got to do a better job making sure we are ready.”

Homecoming games are filled with distractions the entire week leading up to the game. The Bearden first-year coach knew it would be a challenge to get his team focused for the task-at-hand.

“It was something I was nervous about all week,” Taylor said. “You’ve got homecoming and with every week there is distractions but there is even more distractions homecoming week. We didn’t do a good job handling that and we have got to do better than that.”

It doesn’t get any easier for the Bulldogs, who have a bye this week and fall break.

Bearden, 7-1 overall and leading Region 1-5A at 4-0, hosts Sevier County in two weeks. Last year in the same situation the Bulldogs lost to SCHS 42-21.

“We didn’t handle that very well last year when we played Sevier County, so we’ve got a challenge ahead of us,” Taylor said. “We have some seniors that need to step up and have some good leadership in these next couple weeks to get ready for Sevier County.

“They are always tough every time we play them and this won’t be any exception in two weeks.”

Bearden senior fullback Brandon Pemberton scored on a 12-yard run on the game’s first possession to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead with 8:32 remaining.

Campbell County (3-4, 1-2) responded with a Tyler Albright 10-yard touchdown run with 6:36 left in the first. The drive was set up by a 73-yard kickoff return by Albright to the Bearden 25. The extra point was no good to make the score 7-6.

“We have been very inconsistent,” Taylor said about special teams play. “We have been inconsistent on kickoff cover. We have got to get better at that. Basically it’s lack of concentration.”

Bearden turned the ball over on downs with 9:36 remaining in the second quarter to give Campbell County good field position at its own 49-yard line.

The four-play drive was capped by a 15-yard halfback pass from Albright to Troy Arnold to make it 13-7 with 6:29 left in the half.

“They played pretty tough, but we didn’t come into it right,” Bearden senior Aaron Gray said. “We didn’t come in with our heads focused and you see what happened.”

The Bulldogs regained the lead on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Dawson Halliday to Gray to give Bearden a 14-13 lead with 3:45 remaining in the half.

After holding Campbell County, the Bulldogs were in position to get another score in the first half but a fumbled snap on the Campbell County 6-yard line gave the ball to the Cougars with 24 seconds left in the half.

Halliday found Gray for another touchdown on a 6-yard pass to give Bearden a 21-13 lead with 7:21 left in the third. Halliday finished the game with 116 yards on 14 of 22 passing.

“We got together as a team and decided we weren’t going to play like this anymore,” Gray said. “It’s time to wake up and step up. So we did and it worked out well for us.”

Bearden’s Torey Works scored the final points of the game with a 1-yard score with 9:21 left in the game. The senior runningback finished with 154 yards on 24 carries.

“We have got some good backs and obviously a good offensive line, and we feel like we can run the football and that is kind of what we need to do,” Taylor said about his team’s rushing attack that gained 205 yards on 36 carries. “I would like to be a little more balanced some.

“That is one thing I want to work on, to make sure we are more balanced.”

When hosting Sevier County Oct. 26, Bearden will celebrate its annual Senior Night.

 

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