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Bearden wins game, loses standout player for the season

DANDRIDGE — Bearden and Jefferson County played a rock ‘em, sock ‘em game here Friday, Aug. 28, with enough rib-rattling licks to satisfy the most demanding fan.

The final was 24-3, Bearden, led by a dominating defense that forced five turnovers. How good were the Bearden defenders?

Here’s a key stat: Bearden rushed 33 times for 174 yards. Jeff County rushed 33 times for 18 yards. Drew Williamson had 11 tackles, five for lost yardage.

“It was a tough win,” head coach Brad Taylor said. “Our defense played fantastic. They stepped up and played some smash-mouth football.”

Tailback Devrin Young carried 19 times for 103 hard-earned yards and broke the game open with a 56-yard touchdown run on the first possession of the second half.

Brett Parisi had two fumble recoveries, and Calvin Burrell had a fumble recovery and sack.

There was one scary moment in the second quarter. Davis Tull, senior standout receiver/defensive end, went down with a

“serious leg injury,” Taylor later confirmed, leaving the field in an ambulance.

Taylor also confirmed Tull’s BHS football career is over.

Thinning still further at defensive end, Bearden also will be without starting senior Dillon Wilker. “He’ll probably be out a couple of weeks,” Taylor said, adding he “banged up his knee a little bit.”

Bearden fell behind early, 3-0, yielding a field goal after Jeff County had marched to the Bulldog 4. A possession later, the Patriots had it third-and-2 at the 23, when a fumbled snap led to a 5-yard touchdown run by Logan Candela. It was 7-3, good guys, with 1:20 to go in the quarter.

After a Young interception, on which he timed his dive for the ball perfectly, Cisco Carter knocked home a 47-yard field, one that might not have been good from 49, maybe even 48 yards. Carter also knocked four kickoffs through the end zone.

Late in the second stanza, Max Guthrie made a key catch followed by a late hit penalty to the Patriot 39. Young then lined up in the slot, took in a Kyle Riemer pass, and found the express lane for 30 yards to the Jeff County 9.

After a motion penalty set the Bulldogs back, Riemer, who had a steady hand on the Bulldog offense all night, found Max Guthe for a 13-yard TD pass that made it 17-3 at the half. That score beat the halftime clock by 1:03.

“It was hard-hitting, but it was fun,” Riemer said. “It gives me a lot of confidence that we can get it done. There’s pressure, and I like to accept that pressure.”

Bearden started the second half at the 35 after a Jeff County kickoff went out of bounds.

It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to extend the lead. A penalty again set the Bulldogs back, but Riemer found Guthe for a gain of 12, followed by Riemer running nearly 40 yards across the field and back to gain four yards and move the chains.

That put the ball at the 46.

Young then took a pitch right, broke the line of scrimmage, and no one could catch him once he hit his stride. It was 24-3 with 9:21 left.

Jeff County got as close as the Bearden 28 in the fourth quarter before the Bulldog defense stiffened and the ball went over. That came with 8:36 left on the clock.

All the Bulldogs did thereafter was run out the clock, cashing in four first downs and getting tough yardage from C.J. Terry, Peyton Landers, and Young.

“Our defense had heart,” Parisi said. “We wanted it more, because we were playing for our teammates. We out scrapped them. It was hard-fought game that seemed like 24 hours.”

Bearden goes to William Blount Friday night, Sept. 4, for its third consecutive road game and first District 4-AAA game. Opening kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
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