KINGSPORT — Bearden High School’s football team got off to a fast start in the second round of the TSSAA Class 6A playoffs.
Leading 14-7 at halftime, things came unraveled quickly for the Bulldogs, and the collapse resulted in a 28-14 loss at top-seed Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett Friday night, Nov. 15.
“It was a tale of two halves, really,” said BHS head coach Morgan Shinlever, who team finished 5-7 after starting 0-5.
“Our offense was playing well, and defensively we were doing the things that we were supposed to do. But in the second half we were missing some pieces to the puzzle. Offensively, we weren’t executing.”
Leaving Bearden ranked 10th in completions in Tennessee high school football history according to Shinlever, senior quarterback Collin Ironside threw two touchdowns passes versus KDB (10-2).
His first was a 9-yarder to Hayden Candela, who had the most productive season for a receiver in BHS history. The other was a 19-yarder to James Adkins.
Ironside threw for more than 7,100 yards in his career. He had 595 completions, including 61 touchdowns.
Candela finished the season with 77 catches for 923 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“Collin was riddled by injuries this year, but he was still able to come back and lead our team for the second half of the season,” Shinlever said. “I’m really proud of him. We knew coming into the season that he already held all of our school passing records.
“Hayden had the best single season for any receiver ever in our program. And those are just two of our seniors,” he added.
Overall, “I’m extremely proud of this senior class,” Shinlever said. “After we started 0-5, it could’ve been an abysmal season.
“But these kids believed in each other,” he added. “They never quit and they believed in their coaches.”