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. 6 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.
Copeland Awarded Scrappy Moore Male Athlete of the Year
By: Lindsey Young (Chattanooga Times-Free Press)
Bradley Central's Cole Copeland, who is headed to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to play football after all-state seasons on the gridiron and basketball court received the Scrappy Moore Male Athlete of the Year during the 2017 Best of Preps Banquet. For Copeland, the passion comes from wanting to win and the bonds he makes with his teammates.
"There is nothing like going out, with your backs to the wall, and overcoming adversity, especially in football," he said. "You've got 11 guys on each side of the ball, and it creates a special bond that lasts a lifetime.
"I loved Vic Beasley's message. He sounds like an amazing person, and it's something special to see a guy like him come back and give back like he does."
Help Bradley Athletics by giving to the "Bear Down and Give" fundraising campaign. Follow the Bear Down and Give link to make your contribution today.
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.
Relentless Pride …….Honored Tradition