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Dawgs wake up barking
Second-half surge versus Rhea County keeps No. 5 Bearden unbeaten

It’s not how you start, they say.

It’s how you finish, although Bearden head coach Brad Taylor would prefer a better start each time out after the past two weeks.

“I have to do a better job getting us ready from the beginning,” he said. “We shot ourselves in the foot with three turnovers. We just started executing and making plays.”

When Rhea County (1-3) led AP’s No. 5 Class 6A Bearden 14-0 with 7:47 to go in the first half, there had to have been more than a few astonished looks across the expanse of Bill Young Stadium.

Bearden (4-0) rallied to tie the game 14-14 at the half, then dominated the final 24 minutes to take the non-district win 35-20.

Despite three turnovers in the first quarter, Bearden’s defensive unit did rise to the occasion, allowing only seven points.

Trailing 14-0, the Bulldogs got favorable field position at the Bulldogs 48.

Kyle Riemer found Devrin Young on the right side for 22 yards to the Rhea County 30. Riemer found the ever-dependable Tyler Graham for 28 yards and the Bulldogs’ first score.

“Our team picked up momentum after the first touchdown ... the slow starts are definitely a concern with Maryville, Catholic and Farragut that we have to play,” Young said.

A possession later, the Bulldogs faced fourth-and-1 at the 46. Faking a punt, Peyton Landers saw the flow go one way and hightailed it the other way for 37 yards and a first down at the 17.

It only took two plays for Devrin to score: a 12-yard run, followed by a 5-yarder for the score. Young finished with 18 carries for 128 yards and three catches for 26.

“I was ready. Usually we let the end go, and it can be an option,” Landers said, “but there was no end out there. I had a hole ... the whole team made the key blocks.”

With the game tied at 14 midway in the third quarter, BHS marched 93 yards to score.

Max Guthe made an 11-yard catch, Young broke loose for 26, C.J. Terry zipped up the middle for 11 more, and Riemer then hit Landers to the left side for 45 yards and the score.

After a Rhea County fake punt failed on fourth-and-15 from the Golden Eagle 15, Young scored from nine yards out.

Rhea County scored and missed a two-point conversion to make it 28-20, but Bearden later forced a punt from deep in RCHS territory and took over at the 38.

It only took two plays to score, Young rambling down the left side for 34 and covering the requisite four yards.

Lenoir City comes to Bearden for the second home game of the season Friday, Sept. 18, for a District 4-AAA game. Opening kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
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