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Bulldogs hitting stride for playoffs after ‘best’ game

The state’s No. 7-ranked Bearden Bulldogs football team appears to be heading into the postseason playing its best football of the year after beating Jefferson County 31-8 on the road Friday, Nov. 2.

“Friday night was probably the best we have played to date and that is what you like to see,” Bearden head coach Brad Taylor said. “We are getting better and improving every week and we’ve done that and played a pretty complete football game against a good football team.”

With 491 yards of total offense, including 315 yards on the ground, the Bulldogs offense is rolling at the right time. Torey Works led the way with 219 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns for the Region 1-5A champs (9-1, 6-0 region).

“He’s the type of football player that plays with a lot of heart and he has played really well lately,” Taylor said about his senior running back. “[Jefferson County] was really focused on stopping our run, so early we had some success throwing the ball. I think that helped Torey out later on in the game.”

Bulldogs quarterback Dawson Halliday threw for 176 yards on 14-of-25 passing, but more importantly he finished the game without throwing an interception.

“Offensively I felt like we threw the ball real well and that kind of opened up the running game for us,” Taylor said. “We were pretty balanced and complete offensively.”

The defensive effort was solid as well. The Bulldogs defense only allowed five first downs and limited the Patriots to 159 yards of total offense.

“We are pretty solid on both sides of the ball up front and that is big,” Taylor said.

Bearden scored first on a Brandon Pemberton 15-yard run in the first quarter. Brandon Reagan added the extra point. The Patriots took the lead in the second quarter on a 9-yard run by Will Brooks. Brooks ran in the two-point conversion to put Jefferson County up 8-7. Works responded with a 56-yard scoring run and Reagan knocked through a 26-yard field goal to give BHS a 17-8 lead heading into the half.

Halliday threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Works and the quarterback punched in another score on 5-yard run to finish the third quarter scoring.

The Bulldogs host No. 4 Region 2-5A seed Ooltewah (7-3, 4-3) Friday. With the OHS high-powered offense led by running back Brian Marshall, the Bulldogs have a challenge ahead. However, Taylor feels confident his speedy defensive line, led by defensive end Matt Williamson who had three sacks against Jeff County, will be able to contain Marshall.

“They have a good running back, good size and some good athletes,” Taylor said. “We need to improve on the things we can control and figure out a way to slow down their running back. I think we can do that it’s just a matter of executing that Friday night.”


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