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Bulldogs rally clips William Blount

MARYVILLE — Bearden only looked down for the count, trailing William Blount 10-0 at halftime, the third consecutive road game for the Bulldogs to start the 2009 season.

As first reported on Farragut First Edition, Sept. 4, whatever head coach Brad Taylor and staff might have said at intermission, the state-ranked No. 6 Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0) took it to heart.

Scoring 24 unanswered points in the final 24 minutes to take a hard-fought 24-10 District 4-AAA win over the Governors (1-2, 0-1) Friday.

It wasn’t always easy or pretty for the Bulldogs, but the second half onslaught made everybody on the Bearden side breathe easier.

“Our defense really improved in the second half,” Taylor said. “Offensively, we had some things going in the first half. We have some corrections to make. We have to get better in the red zone.”

Bearden started the comeback with its opening possession after stopping the Governors. Devrin Young returned a punt 26 yards down the far boundary to the Governors 29.

Quarterback Kyle Riemer, who keeps the Bulldog ship of state afloat offensively, ran a keeper for a key first down on fourth-and-1 at the 20. Riemer then found Tyler Graham, who had five catches for 39 yards and a fourth quarter touchdown, to the 14.

Young ran twice for nine and two to get it to the 3. Riemer then made a nifty fake, sending the flow to his left, and motoring to his right for the score. It was 10-7 with 6:20 left in the third quarter.

“These games are really tense and tight, ” Riemer said. “I like to embrace the opportunity. These games have been very hard-hitting.”

The Bulldogs lost a major opportunity a series later when the Governors had a bad snap from center, giving the good guys possession at the Blount 10. But a 35-yard field goal missed the mark after the Bulldogs gave up a sack.

“We’ve tried to put an emphasis on going after kicks when we have the opportunity,” Taylor said. “That’s come up big a few times. We’ve not blocked any, but we’ve hurried them. Our pressure has made them uncomfortable.”

The Bulldogs scored on the first possession of the fourth quarter after getting the ball on the Governors 43. After a holding penalty, it was third-and-7 at the 41 when Riemer found Young for 25 and a first down at the 16. Young cashed it in from that point, giving the Bulldogs a 14-10 lead with 9:56 left in the game.

The Bulldogs got another major opportunity at the William Blount 2, when a bad snap from center gave the Bulldogs possession. A penalty and two incomplete passes squeezed the drive to field goal, good from 31 yards by Ben Sisco, who also added three extra points. It was 17-10 at the 7:10 mark.

It was do-or-die time for the Governors, who faced going 80 yards for the tie or go-ahead score against a relentless Bulldog defense. Calvin Burrell made one big play, while Adam Robertson, who had six solo tackles and two assists, plus two lost yardage tackles, batted down a fourth-down option pitch and recovered the ball.

“There was a blitz called,” Robertson said. “I was coming off the edge, and I saw it was an option. I decided to go for the quarterback and got a piece of it. I tried to scoop and score. It’s a play you have to make. You don’t think about it.”

Bearden had it at the 20 and converted the drive quickly after an 11-yard run by Peyton Landers and a 13-yard TD pass from Riemer to Graham. School was out at 24-10 with 2:23 left.

Bearden plays its first home game of the season Friday night, Sept. 11, against District 5-AAA foe Rhea County. Opening kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
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