CAMDEN By PATRIC FLANNIGAN
The Bearden Bears started the season 1-0 for the first time since 2014 when it defeated the Lafayette County Cougars, 22-8, on the road in a game abbreviated by weather.
The game was called with just over four minutes remaining in the third quarter as lightning was detected within a five mile radius of where the game was played.
“There was lightning just to the south of us,” Bearden Bears Head Coach Greg Anthony said. “It never rained where we were at and no one was ever in any real danger from any bad weather. But in those cases, you want to look after the safety of the players. So, it was good to go ahead and call the game to be safe.”
Anthony said the Bears had opportunities to blow the game open early with both of their first offensive possessions getting inside the Cougars’ red zone but penalties stalled the drives out.
“We should’ve scored,” Anthony said. “We got down to their 15-yard line on our first drive and we had a penalty. Then we got down inside the 20 on our second drive. We didn’t score until our third drive in the first quarter.”
The Bears defense was greedy throughout the contest but a late 38 yard touchdown reception game L.C. an 8-6 lead at the half.
“It was one of those plays when our defense went in when we should’ve went out,” Anthony said. “I felt like we didn’t do very good in the first half on offense at all. I think we kinda let fatigue get to us and thats going to happen when you have players playing both ways. Halftime, we made some adjustments in our formations and really looked like a different team. (L.C.) didn’t adjust well to what we did at all and I felt like the game could’ve gotten ugly in our favor.”
The Bears recovered a fumble in the end zone and Jalen Wade scored a touchdown and a two point conversion in the second half to help seal the win.
During the game, The Bears came up with six sacks and eight tackles for loss. Jamalachi Hartley and sophomore O’Shey Yarbrough both had nine tackles each. Kendrick Juniel had six tackles, two sacks, a pass deflection and a forced fumble. C.J. Quarles had five tackles and a sack.
The Bears turned the Cougars over four times with two fumbles and two interceptions - one by Marquise Nelson and another one by Hartley.
Juniel led the team with 15 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown. Wade had 12 carries for 59 yards a touchdown and a two point conversion.
Anthony said he was really pleased with how his team played in the second half and said that he believes it will carryover into this weeks game against Harmony Grove.
“We came in and practiced at 7 a.m. on Monday for a couple of hours and the team was really focused,” Anthony said. “All day after that, they were texting and asking if we could put some of the H.G. film on Hudl.com so they could watch it while they were at their friends’ house. You are starting to see the excitement again and these kids are working hard. I told them that this is one of those games where the opponent is 10 miles down the road but it doesn’t make or break the whole season.”