Bears hold off Ooltewah
By JOE CANNON Assistant Sports Editor
OOLTEWAH —There are some teams you can get a big lead on and coast to an easy victory.
Ooltewah is not one of them.
Bradley Central was reminded of that Friday evening.
Despite holding a three-touchdown lead going into the fourth quarter, the sixth-ranked Bears had to hold on for dear life to claim the first Region 2-6A victory.
“Getting the win is the most important thing,” declared veteran Bradley head coach Damon Floyd after his squad gave up a trio of final frame scores to hold on for a 42-35 win.
“Our offense played well and did what we wanted, but we had some lapses on defense that cost us and allowed them (Ooltewah) to come back on us.
“We’ve got to get that fixed — missed tackles, missed assignments, That’s frustrating, but it is a win. This is a tough place to come get a ‘W,’ so that’s the positive.”
Now 2-1 overall on the young season, the Black-and-Gold will get an extra week to work on the situation before facing the “Crosstown Clash,” as arch-rival and 10th-ranked Cleveland High (3-0) comes to Bear Stadium Sept. 15.
“We have a bye week so we can get some guys healthy and fix some of these problems were having,” the Papa Bear stated. “We’ve got a lot of things to fix, but we’ll get on that and be ready to go.”
The loss is the first time since Mac Bryan took over as head coach five seasons ago Ooltewah has dropped back-to-back games.
The Owls fell to fourth-ranked Science Hill 62-35 the previous Friday after beating Tyner 55-9 in the season opener.
Ooltewah (1-2, 0-1 Region 2-6A) will host arch rival East Hamilton (1-2) this Friday in a non-conference matchup.
As many expected from the two high-powered offenses, the teams traded the first four scores Friday evening, but a third Bear touchdown just before the half helped to turn the tide in favor of the visitors.
After electing to receive the opening kickoff, Ooltewah put together a 14-play, 79-yard scoring march, aided by a trio of Bear penalties, two of which kept the drive alive and gave the Owls key first downs in Bradley territory.
Junior quarterback Tyrell Sanford, one of only two non-senior starters, capped the drive with a three-yard hook up with to 12th-grader Cam Chambers for the first of game’s 11 TDs.
Bradley answered on its initial possession, after senior Jake Presley returned the ensuing kickoff across midfield to the Owl 47.
Nine plays later, including a 28-yard scamper by senior Adam Mullis, the Bears found paydirt on a 1-yard plunge by classmate Nick Howell.
Junior place kicker Clay Shoemaker evened the score at the 2:34 mark with the first of his half dozen extra points on the evening.
After the teams traded punts, the hosts scored quickly in the second frame with a 69-yard connection between Sanford and a streaking Andrew Manning, who was wide open over the top and raced into the end zone untouched.
The Bears once again responded, putting together an 80-yard march with junior QB Dylan Standifer hitting sophomore receiver Saylor Clark with a six-yard strike on the 10th play for the score.
Bradley was able to add the final TD of the opening half with another 10-play drive, this one covering 84 yards in the final four minutes.
After a 28-yard hook up with Howell and a 19-yarder to all-stater Lameric Tucker, Standifer found freshman Tray Curry for the final 22 yards with just over 24 seconds on the clock, giving the Bears the lead at the intermission.
After the break, neither team could add to their tallies in the first four possessions, even though the Bears got to the Owl 7 thanks in big part to a 43-yard connection between Standifer and Howell, plus a 24-yard dash by Standifer.
Ooltewah blocked the resulting field goal attempt.
Bradley did catch a break after forcing the Owls to punt from their own 15 a few moments later.
The snap skipped and by the time the punter scooped it up and tried to boot it away, Bear Parker Johnson swatted the ball down and into the end zone, where teammate Mason Mitchell pounced on it for the touchdown.
After forcing another Ooltewah punt, Bradley pushed its advantage to 35-14 when Standifer hit Tucker with a 59-yard scoring strike with 1:24 left in the third frame.
After struggling on the ground, the Owls went to the air on 7-of-11 plays in the ensuing possession, with Sanford and Manning hooking up on a 13-yard Sports Center worthy scoring highlight.
The Owl signal caller just barely got the ball off under heavy pressure and the receiver leaped high in the air for the catch and held on to the ball while taking a crushing hit as he came down with 10:07 left in the contest.
Bradley was able to push its advantage back to three scores with 4:22 remaining when Standifer snuck in from the 2-yard line.
Ooltewah wasted no time (20 seconds) responding with speedy tailback Sincere Quinn exploding on a 61-yard scoring scamper on the first play after the ensuing kickoff.
After the Bears tried to kill the clock with three straight running plays, they had to give the ball back and the hosts were able to find paydirt again with :45 ticks remaining. This time with a six-yard pass to Bryce Matthews capping an eight-play, 77-yard march.
Bradley was able to cover the onside kick and run out the clock to preserve the victory.
“After we got those two scores in the third quarter, we seemed to just relax and you can’t do that against a team like them,” remarked Coach Floyd.
“We were able to keep Sincere Quinn bottled up pretty must in the first half (nine carries for only 24 yards), but he got loose there on that big touchdown run in the fourth (quarter).”
Quinn finished with 107 yards on 17 carries, but just the one score.
For the second straight week, Standifer had a big night, completing 19-of-30 passes for 291 yards and a trio of scores, plus rushing 10 times for another 48 yards and a touchdown.
Tucker pulled in nine passes for 141 yards, plus had a pair of kickoff returns for 98 yards to put the Bears into good field position.
Howell helped out with 112 all-purpose yards on five catches and 10 carries with a TD.
Mullis powered for 52 yards on just eight rushes for the victors.
Mitchell topped the Bear defensive effort with a half dozen solo tackles in 11 total hits, including a pair for loss and a half sack, plus the fumble recovery in the end zone.
Presley and fellow DB Jeffrey Brewer had eight hits apiece. “JP” had a half dozen solos with one behind the line of scrimmage.
“Deuce” Floyd, Hayden Owenby, Kevin Gentry, Johnson and SEC prospect Jay Person each helped out with seven total hits.
Johnson had a sack and a half, plus the blocked punt, while Gentry recovered a fumble and was in on a sack.
Coach Floyd is confident in his squad’s ability to respond to the challenge ahead of them.
“Our kids are competitors. They get after it, but we’ve got to do that every down. We can’t afford these lapses, especially against the caliber of teams we are facing.
“We’ll take a couple of days off and then come back and work on correcting the things we need to correct.”
Bradley is now 18-13 all time against the Owls, but Friday snapped a three-game losing streak to the Hamilton County club and was just their fourth win in the series since 2000.
Bears Claw Mustangs
By JOE CANNON Assistant Sports Editor
Coaches often say the most improvement in a season comes between Game 1 and Game 2.
That was sure the case for Bradley Central’s football team, bouncing back from a five-turnover, heartbreaking overtime home loss in the season opener, to a no miscue effort, with a perfect passing night, in a 52-7 blowout in the “County Conflict at the Corral” Friday evening.
“Our kids came out and did what we asked tonight,” proclaimed Bear head coach Damon Floyd. “Our numbers were a lot better this week, especially the penalties and, of course, the fact we didn’t turn the ball over.”
One of the most notable differences came from new starting quarterback Dylan Standifer, who had thrown four interceptions the first week, but completed all 13 of his passes against Walker Valley Friday for 303 yards and a trio of touchdowns, plus he crossed the goal line himself twice.
“Dylan just keeps getting better and better,” the Bear coach praised. “He didn’t let last week affect him. He came out focused and did a great job tonight.
“Walker Valley lost a lot from last year’s team and our defense did a good job of keeping them in check tonight. We held (Zeke) Westfield to just three catches and the one he took for a touchdown was nearly a Pick 6 for us.”
With a tough loss to reigning state champion Farragut and now its largest victory over Walker Valley in 13 meetings under its belt, fourth-ranked Bradley jumps head first into Region 2-6A play this Friday with a short trip down I-75 to face 10th-ranked Ooltewah.
“Ooltewah is tough and has always given us fits,” remarked Coach Floyd.
Although the Bears hold a 17-13 overall edge in the series, the Owls have won 11 of the last 14 meetings.
Ooltewah will be coming off a 62-35 whipping by sixth-ranked Science Hill Friday.
Now 0-2 on the young season, Walker Valley must regroup in a hurry as Rhea County comes calling Friday for the Region 4-5A opener.
The sixth-ranked Golden Eagles are also 0-2 after Cleveland beat them in the final nine seconds of the season opener and Blackman, the No. 2-ranked Class 6A squad in the state, torched them 52-21 this week.
Friday’s “County Conflict” started out like it was going to be a barnburner with a stunning defensive stand by the Mustangs to open the contest and the lead changing hands three times in the first quarter.
All-stater Lameric Tucker returned the opening kickoff 47 yards, plus a penalty on the hosts set the Bears up just 39 yards from the end zone.
After needing only five plays to advance to the Mustang 9, the visitors started going backwards, thanks to tackles for loss by Herd senior Isaiah Alston and junior Chris Crenshaw.
The first of two WV sacks on the evening came on third down when Crenshaw and sophomore Kellar Carson trapped Standifer at the 20.
A missed field goal attempt on the next play kept the Bears off the scoreboard.
However, after a quick three-and-out on the Mustang’s first offensive possession, Bradley struck quickly.
On the first play after the punt, Standifer tossed a swing pass to Tucker, who in turn picked up a key block from senior Nick Howell and sprung free for a 63-yard touchdown down the left sideline.
The extra point kick was wide, so the Bears were up 6-0 with 6:38 left in the opening frame.
Walker Valley answered after the ensuing kickoff with a seven-play scoring drive, with Westfield taking a swing pass from senior Kolten Gibson and racing 43 yards to paydirt.
The PAT by Charlie Swafford gave the hosts their lone lead of the night.
Bradley retook the advantage on the ensuing series with a six-play, 60-yard drive with Howell diving for the pylon to cap a 21-yard scamper for the score.
Standifer kept the ball for the two-point conversion for a 14-7 edge with 1:45 on the first quarter clock.
The Bear defense set up a trio of scores in the second quarter to set the course for the runaway victory.
After stopping the hosts on a fourth-and-2 play, the “Black Hole Defense” gave the quick-strike Bear offense possession at midfield.
Two plays later Standifer hit Howell in the flats and the senior broke free for a 53-yard score after the catch.
After the ensuing kickoff, SEC prospect Jay Person picked up the first of three sacks on the night and then nailed a ’Stang receiver as soon as he caught a screen pass for another loss.
On the next play, Bear nose tackle Parker Johnson intercepted a pass and returned it to the WV 15-yard line.
Four plays later, Standifer scooped up a low snap and ran the ball in from four yards out.
Bradley’s final score of the first half came after the defense forced another three-and-out by the hosts on the following series.
After three straight completions and an 11-yard run by freshman Tray Curry, Standifer punched the ball in from the 1 yard line.
Junior Clay Shoemaker tacked on the third of his four extra points on the night with 2:52 on the clock.
After the intermission, Walker Valley picked up a couple of first downs in the opening possession but stalled at the Bear 21.
Two plays later, Standifer and Tucker hooked up again for another swing pass that the all-stater took to the house for 66 yards to invoke the running-clock rule for the remainder of the game.
Shoemaker added a 20-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter.
With both teams playing reserves in the final frame, Bradley’s last score was set up by an Ashton Dunn interception, returning the ball 20 yards to the Mustang 2.
After a loss on their first try, freshman backup QB Tucker Pope hit Curry for a 4-yard TD toss. Pope completed both of his pass attempts, giving the Bears a final passing line of 15-for-15 for 307 yards.
Rand Schneck, a soccer player who recently joined the team, came on to boot the final point of the night with 8:49 remaining.
“We were able to spread the ball around tonight and get a lot of people playing time,” declared Coach Floyd. “Overall, I’m happy with what we were able to do tonight.”
Bears Fall to Farragut
By JOE CANNON Assistant Sports Editor
Going toe-to-toe in an overtime battle with a reigning state champion was little consolation to veteran Bradley Central head coach Damon Floyd Friday night.
“We let this one get away,’ he bemoaned after the 27-21 season-opening loss to 2016 Class 5A state titlist Farragut.
“We got ourselves in a 14-0 hole in the first four minutes. To the guys’ credit we came back to take the lead, but we didn’t finish it off.
“That’s on me. I didn’t have us ready to play from the beginning. It’s my fault. That’s on me,” declared the Papa Bear, falling on the proverbial sword.
“My kids fought hard tonight. It hurts. This is NOT going to define our season.
“We’ve got to be men. Suck it up and get back to work to get ready for Walker Valley next week.”
The Bears will invade “The Corral” Friday evening in the Mustangs’ home opener. Walker Valley is coming off a 48-36 loss to Chattanooga Central Thursday evening in Finley Stadium.
“It’s going to be a long season and we’ve got to learn from this (the loss) and get better.
“We’re a better team than what we showed tonight. We as coaches have to do a better job of getting us ready.”
The fact of the matter is Bradley outplayed their Knoxville visitors Friday evening in every category, except the final score.
The Bears out gained the Admirals 168-118 on the ground, 238-207 through the air, in first downs (19-14), time of possession (29:13-18:47), third-down conversion (6-5) and Red Zone opportunities (2-1).
“The only numbers that count is the scoreboard,” declared Floyd. “Anytime you lose, it’s disappointing. And in a game like this, it’s really frustrating.
“We scored three times in overtime and none of them counted (due to penalties).
“We gave up a TD that should have been a pick. We had a busted coverage on the second TD.
“After they jumped out on us, we played pretty good defense and held them down, until that third-and-25 busted play they took a long way (46 yards) to set up their score in the fourth quarter right there at the end,” he assessed.
“That’s the way the game goes sometime, unfortunately.”
After receiving the opening kickoff, Farragut needed just five plays to find paydirt, with Tennessee commit Jacob Warren making the first of his four TD catches, this one on a 45-yard strike from junior Jake Evans.
The 6-foot-6, 220-pound tight end also hauled in a 22-yard scoring pass less than three minutes later as the Admirals cashed in on the first of five Bear turnovers on the night.
Bradley stayed behind the two score deficit until the final minute of the opening half.
Getting the ball back near midfield after an Admiral punt with 1:22 on the clock, junior QB Dylan Standifer hooked up with all-stater Lameric Tucker for 27 yards before finding senior Nick Howell for the final 25 for the first Bear score of the season.
Junior Clay Shoemaker came on to boot the first of his three extra points on the evening with 56 ticks remaining on the first half clock.
After the intermission, the Bears were able to knot the score at 14 on their second possession, marching 68 yards in nine plays with Tucker diving to break the plane of the goal line from two yards out with 5:50 on the third-quarter clock.
Tucker finished with 96 yards on five receptions and a half dozen runs.
The score was set up by a 29-yard completion to senior Devin Moore to move the ball to the 3 yard line.
The Black-and-Gold were able to take the lead in the fourth quarter after junior Cole Reyher picked off an Admiral aerial to give the hosts’ possession just 37 yards from paydirt.
Seven plays later Howell, who finished with 170 all-purpose yards on 18 carries and a trio of receptions, one of which was on a spectacular one-handed grab well above his head, carried the ball around left end for a 14-yard scoring scamper with 6:57 left in regulation.
Having stopped Farragut’s previous nine possessions, the Bear defense appeared to have the visitors hemmed up again after a 10-yard tackle for loss by senior defensive end Henley Headrick on a swing pass.
Faced with a third-and-25 from their own 14, the Admirals caught a break when Evans avoided a sack and was able to get the ball to speedster Isaiah Gibbs. He was cutting back against the grain and able to outrun the Bear defenders for 46 yards before senior DBs Damon “Deuce” Floyd and Jordan McIllwain were able to track him down from behind to prevent the score.
The reprieve was only temporary though as after two plays for a minus one yard, Evans and Warren hooked up again for a 28-yard strike and the PAT tied the score with 4:40 remaining in regulation.
With neither team being able to cash in again before the horn blared, the game went to overtime.
Getting the ball first, Bradley got a break before the initial snap with an offsides call on the Admirals moving the ball to the 5 yard line.
After a no gain, Howell powered to the 1 yard line.
Standifer then carried the ball into the end zone on the following play, but a flag came out for an illegal shift, negating the score and moving the ball back to the 6.
Standifer then drilled a bullet to senior Stephen Muhonen, who had five catches for 30 yards on the night, for an apparent score, but once again there was laundry on the field for a holding call.
Backed up to the 19, after an incomplete pass, Bradley sent the field goal unit on the field and Shoemaker split the uprights on a 37-yard try, but the play was whistled dead for delay of game.
With the ball moved back to the 24, Bradley decided to go for it, but the pass was picked off in the end zone.
Despite having to start their offensive try from the 15 after a penalty, Farragut gained a couple of yards on a run before the Evans-to-Warren connection struck again for a 13-yard scoring toss to end the game.
Without the 115 yards and four TDs the future Vol big target made on five catches, the Bear defense held the state champs to just 220 yards of offense and no scores.
SEC prospect Jay Person led the Bradley defensive attack with eight total hits, including two tackles for loss with a sack while stripping the ball loose, plus he picked off an Admiral pass.
Headrick had four solo tackles, including the one 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage, and a trio of assists.
The younger Floyd pulled down five solo tackles, while senior DE Kevin Gentry was also in on five hits, with a half sack included.
The Bear pass protection played well, holding Farragut to just 15-of-32 passing with a pair of picks and several aerials deflected away from receivers, plus three more near interceptions.
Lameric Tucker Commits To Mocs
By: Gene Henley (Chattanooga Times-Free Press)
Bradley Central football coach Damon Floyd, who was a four-year letterman at the University ofTennessee at Chattanooga, lets his players make their own decisions when being recruited.
But he feels a twinge of pride when one chooses his alma mater.
Bear senior Lameric Tucker chose the Mocs on Wednesday, becoming the fourth player to make a nonbinding commitment to the Chattanooga program for the 2018 signing class. He joins Dalton offensive lineman Dylan Cole, Hewitt-Trussville tight end Logan Pitts and Boyd-Buchanan outside linebacker Kohl Henke in that group of pledges.
Tucker, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound receiver rated as a two-star prospect by 247Sports.com and Scout.com, has 160 career catches for 2,400 yards and 22 touchdowns. He was a first-team Times Free Press Best of Preps selection in 2016, when he had 91 catches for 1,452 yards and 13 scores, and he has 397 yards on 19 catches with three touchdowns through three games this season. He also has three rushing touchdowns and a kickoff return for a score in his career tally.
He mentioned proximity and being reunited with former Bears quarterback Cole Copeland, a Mocs freshman this season, as reasons for his decision.
"UTC was up front and honest with me," Tucker said Wednesday. "They were all about me, and I could tell they were all about me, but they told me to look around a little bit. I'm able to take off a lot of stress with this decision being made. It's not something I have to think about every day now."
Tucker — who has been timed at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash and has a 40-inch vertical leap — was also considering Eastern Kentucky and Mercer before committing to the Mocs.
Floyd mentioned Tucker's work ethic as being one of his strongest and best traits. The latter plays basketball and runs track at Bradley, but Floyd spoke about how Tucker would come work out before school, only missing when he was sick.
Floyd said he "made Lameric not work out that day," adding that he had a basketball game that night.
"He's a great person with great character and an unbelievable work ethic," Floyd said. "When you add in how talented he is, he's one of the best I've ever coached.
"He doesn't have a weakness. That's just the type of player he is."
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @genehenleytfp.More Articles
Standifer Shines as Bears Sweep 5-Way Action
By PATRICK MacCOON Sports Writer
Lack of practice or not, Bradley Central’s rising junior quarterback Dylan Standifer made major improvements in his first 7-on-7 action.
After a pair of turnovers in a tightly contested opening 20-minute scrimmage against Heritage, the first-year expected starter took full command against tough competition Tuesday evening at BCHS.
Against two of Knoxville’s top-tier teams in Knoxville Catholic, who is 41-12 with a Class 4-A state championship over the past four seasons, and Austin-East (21 wins since 2015), Standifer threw for a combined six touchdowns and no turnovers.
In three games the Bears accurate signal caller, who completed north of 70 percent of his passes, threw for nine scores in the 5-way 7-on-7 on his home gridiron.
“To be honest, we felt like Dylan was probably a little rusty coming in to today,” BC head coach Damon Floyd said. “Early on he missed some throws and slipped on an interception. But overall we were impressed on his first day back from baseball. He got better and better as the evening went on.”
Accuracy has been a strength of Standifer’s through limited varsity time under center as he is 44-of-60 (.733) through the air for 513 yards and five touchdowns.
A slew of receivers made big plays for Bradley, who won all four contests.
Proving to be one of the top receivers in the state last season, senior standout Lameric Tucker totaled nine catches for over 100 yards and scored three touchdowns.
His most impressive score, which he had 17 total last season, came on a 12-yard jump ball near the front left pylon against Austin-East. He also scored on a 28-yard wheel route down the right sideline against Knox Catholic.
An immediate impact player over his first two high school scrimmages, freshman 6-foot-3 wideout Tray Curry scored four touchdowns. He scored two against Heritage and now has six scores in 7-on-7’s.
Also adding to the firepower of the air attack were sophomore Saylor Clark and senior Stephen Muhonen.
Clark scored on a 41-yard bomb down the middle of the field against Austin-East. Muhonen scored twice against Knox Catholic, which included an impressive catch over his right shoulder for a 25-yard score late.
“Tray scored quite a bit today and scored our first one of the day to get us started,” Coach Floyd said. “Nick (Howell), Stephen and Lameric are going to be three-year starters and Saylor Clark is going to be a stud too. We feel really good about our receiving corps.”
Standifer threw for four touchdowns in a thrashing of Knox Catholic, who only scored once against the Bears.
“Dylan showed a lot of composure against what may be the No. 1 team in the state this season in 5-A,” BCHS offensive coordinator Keith Freeman said. “We threw and caught the ball well today. These young kids got some important reps. We are trying to get them ready for the season and build depth.”
Bradley’s defense was impressive throughout the day as well.
In a thrashing of Knox Catholic the Bears defense forced three sacks as the secondary forced tight coverage to where the opposing quarterback did not even throw the ball.
The Irish will return to Cleveland to face Walker Valley on Oct. 13.
“I felt like the intensity was raised when Knox Catholic lined up against us,” Coach Floyd said. “It was probably the best we played offensively and defensively all night. They have a chance to win the state every year, so it was nice to see.”
Seniors Jeffery Brewer, Jay Person, Jake Presley and freshman Ricky Smith all had strong days for BC as its defense only allowed three scores.
The Bears junior varsity and freshman played in the last scrimmage of the day against Meigs County.
Freshman BC quarterback Tucker Pope threw for a pair of scores.
Bradley will get back on the practice field today and will compete in a full day of 7-on-7’s Saturday at UTC.
“We have a lot more work to do and three more of these scrimmages next week,” Floyd said. “The real football will start when we put some pads on.”
2017 Football Schedule
Aug. 18 Farragut Home
Aug. 25 Walker Valley Away
Sept. 1 Ooltewah* Away
Sept. 8 Bye
Sept 15 Cleveland* Home
Sept. 22 Rhea County Home
Sept. 29 McMinn County* Away
Oct. 5 Soddy Daisy Away
Oct 13 Heritage* Home
Oct. 20 William Blount* Home
Oct. 27 Maryville* Away
Bears Continue to Build Depth
By Gary Owenby Banner Correspondent
The Bradley Central Bears hosted their annual 5-way scrimmage Saturday night at Bear Stadium and Mother Nature did her job when she came through for players and fans alike with a break from the suffocating heat and humidity of recent days.
The Bear varsity continued to display a volatile passing game that was spread over several outstanding receivers and also the reawakening of a running attack. Veterans and young players alike contributed to the successful evening, as the Bears opened play against the McMinn Central Chargers.
Junior Cole Reyer got the defense off to an auspicious start when he darted into the Charger backfield early in their offensive set and stripped the ball away. Not missing a step, 30 yards later he had the first Bear score of the night.
The Bear defense played stout all night but showed that there was room for improvement. “We missed a lot of tackles tonight, but got better as the night went on,” commented Bear head coach Damon Floyd.
The Bear offense then took over and looked impressive as it tacked on two more scores in the 10-plays-per-team offensive format. Junior quarterback Dylan Standifer continued his mastery of spreading the receptions to multiple receivers while senior Nick Howell continued to impress in the preseason action, pulling in a 10-yard score for the first Bear offensive touchdown.
Not to be outdone, freshman Tray Curry hooked up with Standifer on a screen pass and exploded down the sideline for a 70-yard touchdown reception. Junior placekicker Clay Shoemaker added PATs after both scores and was perfect throughout the night’s action as the Bears closed out the Chargers, 20-0.
The Bears next met former region foe Hardin Valley and gained a small measure of revenge for a 14-13 loss during the 2016 regular season as they tallied a single score while the defense pitched another shutout. The 7-0 win came as sophomore Saylor Clark found paydirt on a 10-yard pass from Standifer with Shoemaker once again successful on the PAT. The Bear defense picked up its second turnover of the night with a fumble recovery against the Hawks as well.
The East Ridge Pioneers matched up next with the Bears and could do nothing against the rugged Bear defense. After stopping the Pioneer offense, the Bears took another 7-0 decision as Standifer once again found young sophomore Clark for the catch and his second touchdown reception of the evening.
The Fighting Irish of Knox Catholic were the final foe for the Bear varsity in a matchup that ended in a 7-7 tie. The Irish remain one of a very few football-playing private schools that opted to stay in the public school domain after deciding not to move to Division II with the latest TSSAA reclassification. They have been a powerhouse team for the past several years, with a state title in 2015 in 4-A play. They feature three players listed on the preseason All-State team, including two-way star lineman Cade Mays, who is rated the No 1 high school player in the state and is headed to Knoxville to play for the Tennessee Vols. Mays is listed as 6-6, 325 pounds with a 5-star ranking and has dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. He was also named a Mr. Football award winner in 2016.
The Bears managed the first score of this encounter as Standifer lofted a pass to Howell near the back of the end zone for a sensational catch and a touchdown. This score was set up earlier in the drive as Clark ripped off a 50-yard catch-and-run with a nifty move that freed him from the defense before he was chased down.
Following the scrimmage portion of the night, the teams matched up for goal-line situations where the Bear defense shut down Central, Catholic and East Ridge, with Hardin Valley grabbing a single score. Jeffery Brewer nabbed the only Bear interception of the night to stop Catholic. The Bear offense was unstoppable in goal-line situations and scored against all four teams.
“We had a lot of good reps tonight against some very strong competition,” related Coach Floyd as the night’s action was winding down. “The best thing was we knocked heads in full pads against other teams using officials, and have a lot of tape to review.”
The Bear running game saw its first action following the conclusion of seven-on-seven passing camps, and was led throughout the evening by Stephen Muhonen, along with Howell and junior Kahlil Lamberth. Adam Mullis also flexed his strength and consistently moved the ball before getting dinged and should be fine going forward. Howell has shown excellent speed and power after missing most of the 2016 season with a broken collarbone suffered on two different occasions, while senior Devon Moore has been cleared for contact after being sidelined nearly the entire 2016 season as well with a serious leg injury. He is in a two-week re-acclimation period at this time.
The Bears will return to evening practices before traveling to Sewanee next Thursday night where they’ll face always strong D-II opponent Ensworth. The Tigers are reported to be down in overall numbers but have multiple players being actively recruited by D1 schools. It should be a formidable challenge for the Bears as they continue their countdown to opening night on Aug. 18, when they’ll host another powerhouse, Farragut, defending 5-A state champions.
The Tri-State Officials Association presented Bradley Central the Larry Sells Sportsmanship Award on Saturday night. Sells was a well-known and respected official for many years before he passed away.
According to Craig Phillips, the association’s assigning officer, it represents “the school chosen by the officials that provides the best atmosphere for the officials. We are always taken care of at Bradley, and it is appreciated. This includes the teams, fans and administration at Bradley Central,” he noted.
Jay Person Getting Multiple Offers
By Staff Reports:
Bradley Bear upcoming senior OLB Jay Person has had a break-through on the recruiting scene this month receiving multiple offers from In-State programs that include Memphis, MTSU, UTC, and Austin Peay. Jay has also received SEC offers from Missouri and Miss State with other FBS offers that include Appalachian State, UT-San Antonio, Tulane, Coastal Carolina and UMass.
"We are extremely excited for Jay and his family. He has worked really hard in the off season to get bigger and stronger, but what we are most proud of as a coaching staff is his hard work in the classroom and improving his ACT score. This has improved Jay's position in the recruiting process by becoming a high qualifier on the NCAA Clearing house sliding scale which takes into account a student athlete's core GPA and ACT Score," exclaimed Coach Freeman. "This spring should be an exciting one with lots of college coaches on campus to see some of our upcoming seniors which gives our younger players a chance to get noticed also." added Coach Freeman.
Lameric Tucker Receives Offers
Bradley's upcoming all-state senior receiver Lameric Tucker has had a busy off-season in the recruiting process as multiple in state FCS schools have come calling and made offers which include TSU, Tennessee Tech, ETSU, Austin Peay and UTC. Lameric has also received FCS offers from Eastern Kentucky as well as Mercer.
"There is no doubt that this is just the beginning of the recruiting process for Lameric, he has a full summer schedule of college camps that he has been asked to attend so I am sure more offers will come,"explained Coach Freeman.
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Region 2 6A
Relentless Pride …….Honored Tradition
Bears Claim Scenic City Showdown
By GARY OWNBEY Banner Correspondent
CHATTANOOGA — As they had in their previous 7-on-7 competitions, Bradley Central roared into Finley Stadium Saturday and mauled the competition at the 2017 Scenic City Showdown.
Fourteen teams divided into two pools, playing at Finley Stadium and at the UTC’s Scrappy Moore practice facility, battled it out and after two lengthy lightning delays the Bears wrapped up the championship with a tie-breaker in the third overtime to pay Soddy-Daisy back for its lone loss of the day.
The emotion and intensity displayed should make for an interesting encounter when the same teams meet again in the regular season during Week 7 in a non-region contest.
The Bears fought their way to a 6-1-1 record on the day as a member of Pool A at Finley. They were granted the No. 2 overall seed for the tournament portion of the days’ action, with Meigs County being tabbed the overall top seed after going 5-0 on Scrappy Moore Field.
The Bears opened morning action with a 12-6 win over Baylor with defensive back Jeffrey Brewer returning an interception for a touchdown for the winning margin.
The first Bear score came on a pass from junior quarterback Dylan Standifer to all-state receiver Lameric Tucker. This scintillating duo would connect for eight touchdowns throughout the day.
The Bears clinched win No. 2 with a 14-0 shutout of East Ridge. In just his third day back from baseball, Standifer hooked up with Tucker and senior Nick Howell for touchdowns. Howell also caught the two-point conversion pass.
Defense stepped up big for the Bears with four interceptions in Saturday’s play as Damon “Deuce” Floyd nabbed two against Morristown-West and returned one to paydirt in a 19-12 win.
Standifer and Tucker connected again with senior Stephen Muhonen getting in on the action as well for his first score of the day.
The Bears seemed to lose their focus for a spell with a 7-7 tie against Weaver, Ala., with Tucker on the receiving end of another score.
The only loss of the day for the Bears came when Soddy-Daisy connected on a remarkable play for a touchdown as the clock struck zero to claim a 15-8 win.
The final pool play contest was against McCallie, resulting in a 8-6 Bear victory over the Blue Tornado as the lightning delays began.
After sitting for well over two hours, play resumed only to be halted a second time.
Delays amounted to about three hours while the teams enjoyed lunch and got a chance to catch their breath.
In the tournament playoffs, the Bears received a first-round bye which turned into another bye when McCallie and Goodpasture headed home due to the uncertainty of the second delay.
The Bears matched up for their second game against Weaver in the semifinals and pulled out a 14-12 verdict thanks to another score for Tucker who also grabbed the two-point conversion for the winning margin.
Muhonen made his second touchdown reception of the day for the Bears initial score against the ’Bama boys.
It all boiled down to the Bears and Trojans for the championship plaque and it turned into a dilly of a battle.
Standifer and Tucker connected for their final touchdown in this match-up and freshman Tray Curry leaped high to pull down the Bears second score.
Soddy-Daisy rallied late to tie the game at 13-13 after converting the PAT, resulting in the overtime procedures being used.
In the first extra possession, each team got a single play from the opponent’s five-yard line.
With both teams failing to score, the ball was moved back to the 10-yard line and once again neither team connected.
The final tie-breaker is a “one-on-one,” (receiver against a defender) situation with a coin toss determining what matchup the winner prefered.
The Bears won the toss and it would again be Standifer and Tucker facing a single Trojan defensive back.
If the defender stopped the completion then the Trojans are declared the victor. With a completion the Bears would be the champions.
It was a bobbled reception by Tucker that provided the game-winner and championship to the Black-and-Gold.
Afterwards Coach Damon Floyd was very pleased by the resiliency of his Bears after sitting through the long delays.
“It was a long day filled with adversity and we overcame it all. Very good completion can only make us better. We got a lot of work in and we have a lot to fix as well.
“While it might not have been regulation football, we didn’t come down here to lose and we didn’t,” he added. “We’re heading home with the championship trophy.”
The Bears swept through three different 7-on-7 competitions during the past week and now set their sights on an even busier week as they hit the road for three consecutive nights of action including Tuesday at Soddy-Daisy, Wednesday at Lenoir City and Thursday at Alcoa.
They’ll return to Bear Stadium for the annual six-way scrimmage July 29 with Knox Catholic, Hardin Valley, Soddy-Daisy, McMinn Central and East Ridge lined up for exciting head-to-head action.
Chris Cash Receives FBS Offer
The Recruiting process is heating up for Senior offensive lineman Chris Cash who has received his first FBS offer from the Air Force Academy along with offers from FCS schools Austin Peay and ETSU. Austin Peay is coached by former UTC assistant WiIl Healy.
"We are thrilled for Chris and his family. This is just the beginning for Chris in the recruiting process as he is garnering lots of interest from multiple FCS and FBS programs. He is a NCAA Clearing House highly qualified student athlete which puts him at the top of the list of most programs recruiting boards." Coach Freeman emphasized.