Type your pFARRAGUT — Despite it's lowest offensive yardage output of the season, top-ranked Bradley Central managed to escape the clutches of an old nemesis Friday evening to remain unbeaten on the campaign.
"Happy to pull out the win, but we just aren’t clicking right now," declared 18-year "Papa Bear" Damon Floyd after the 28-20 "ugly" victory at Farragut.
"My job as head coach is to have our team ready to play, so I have to find a way to get us playing our best for four quarters. Farragut is a tough team and we knew they would come out fighting.
"This is a tough region and you have to be ready to play every Friday night. The good news we found a way to win!" he added.
Notching its second Region 2-6A victory in as many games, Bradley still remains a half game behind league-leader Bearden (4-2, 3-0). The ninth-ranked Bulldogs knocked off 17-time state champion and No. 6-ranked Maryville (4-3, 1-2) in a 21-20 overtime battle Friday. It was the Rebels first home region loss this century.
Eighth-ranked Cleveland (5-1, 2-0), which had a bye this week, is also yet to drop a conference game.
Bradley will square off with the Blue Raiders and Bearden in the final two games of the regular season, while Cleveland will visit the Bulldogs in a key region matchup this Friday.
The Bear homecoming game this week has been moved up to Thursday evening, due to fall break being the following week, as Hardin Valley (2-4, 0-3) pays a visit.
After being held to minus-14 yards in a scoreless opening quarter, Bradley fell into a 10-0 hole as Farragut (2-4, 0-3) opened the second frame with a 21-yard field goal by sophomore Ryan McCue.
The hosts then recovered a Bear fumble on the first play after the ensuing kickoff, which resulted in a five-play, 44-yard quick strike for the game's first touchdown on a one-yard plunge by senior Wyatt Drummy, who finished the night with 130 yards on 31 touches.
After an onside kickoff to open the game and a "pooch" kick on their second, the Admirals kicked it deep on the third try and what they had feared came back to bite them as Tennessee commit Marcus Goree Jr. returned it 57 yards to the Farragut 40.
The Bradley offense responded quickly needing just a half dozen plays to finally find paydirt on a 12-pass from University of Miami-Ohio commit Kaleb Martin to fellow senior Jarrius Rogers in the end zone on a 12-yard scoring toss.
After the "Black Hole Defense" held the hosts to a three-and-out, forcing Farragut's lone punt of the night, the Bear offense got the ball back on their own 44.
Eight plays later Martin capped the drive with a four-yard run to give the visitors their first lead of the evening with 3:14 left in the opening half.
Farragut took the ensuing kickoff and used 13 plays to run out the rest of the clock, getting a second McCue field goal, this one from 28 yards out, as the halftime buzzer sounded to make it a 14-13 difference.
After the intermission, the Admiral aerial attack, which finished with over 300 yards, struck quickly with a 67-yard rocket from senior Cam Duncan to wide-open classmate Jordan Sheppard, who was 10 yards behind the nearest Bear defender, on the third play of the second half.
Stunned but not bowed, Bradley's offense responded with it's longest drive of the contest, marching 80 yards on 14 plays.
Martin found fellow senior Ben Collins in the end zone for a seven-yard score, allowing Skylar Pirkle's third of four extra-point kicks to put the Black-and-Gold in the lead for good with 4:19 on the third-quarter clock.
Farragut came right back with a 14-play march of its own, but after Red Zone stop by the "Black Hole Defense," had to settle for a 29-yard field goal attempt by McCue, but the ball went wide of the left goal post.
The teams then traded interceptions in the course of nine plays, with Bear senior Tito Williams' "pick" setting up the game's final score.
Starting on its own 21, Bradley moved the ball to midfield thanks to a four-yard J'Alan Terry run and a 10-yard connection from Martin to Rogers, plus a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on the Admiral bench.
From there Martin hit a streaking "Boo" Carter over the middle and the Tennessee commit made a spectacular one-handed catch in full stride at the 15 before racing into the end zone for the 50-yard score.
Pirkle split the uprights for his 15th straight PAT, giving the game its 28-20 final with 6:30 remaining.
Carter finished with 72 yards on five receptions, while Rogers collected 61 on four catches. Martin was 10-for-17 for 140 yards and a trio of scores.
The Bear rushing attack was limited to just 103 yards with Terry collecting 52 on a dozen carries. Senior Jackson Wilson had 35 on seven tries, while Martin gained 28 on 10.
Bradley was held to just 243 total yards, its lowest of the season, while Farragut put together 416 on 32 rushes and Duncan completing 25-of-39 aerials for 302.
Bear freshman Zach McIntoch not only sacked Duncan for a 10-yard loss, but also blocked a pass attempt that the Admiral QB then caught just before McIntosh leveled him for an eight-yard loss. The Bradley defense made eight tackles for loss in the contest.
— Full individual defensive stats were available at presstime.
Friday, Sept. 29
at "Bill Clabo Field"
Bradley Central 0 14 7 7 — 28
Farragut 0 13 7 0 — 20
F — Ryan McCue 21-yd FG, 11:50
F — Wyatt Drummy 1-yd run (McCue kick), 9:11
BC — Jarrius Rogers 12 pass Kaleb Martin (Skylar Pirkle kick), 7:10
BC — Martin 4 run (Pirkle kick), 3:14
F — McCue 28-yd FG, :01.4
F — Jordan Sheppard 67-yd pass from Cam Duncan (McCue kick), 10:26
BC — Ben Collins 21-yd pass from Martin (Pirtle kick), 4:19
MC — Ethan Faulkner 69 run (Sullins kick), 2:10
BC — Carter 50 pass from Martin (Pirtle kick), 6:30
First downs 13 19
Rushes-Yards 30-103 32-114
Passing 140 302
Total yards 243 416
Comp-Att-Int 10-17-1 25-39-1
Punts-Avg 3-38.7 1-29.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 5-57 4-40
Rushing: J'Alan Terry 12-52, Jackson Wilson 7-35, Kaleb Martin 10-28 TD, Boo Carter 1- -2 (BC); Wyatt Drummy 27-105 TD, Bryce Thompson 3-16, Robbie Jacobs 1-3, Cam Duncan 1- -10 (F).
Passing: Kaleb Martin 10-17-1 140 3 TDs (BC); Cam Duncan 25-39-1 302 TD (F).
Receiving: Boo Carter 5-72 TD, Jarrius Rogers 4-61 TD, Ben Collins 1-7 TD (BC); Jordan Sheppard 4-113 TD, Landis Davilla 12-59, Landon Collins 3-49, Brooke Burnette 3-46, Wyatt Drummy 4-25, Robbie Jacobs 1-18, Cam Duncan 1- -8 (F).
Records: Bradley Central 6-0, 2-0 Region 2-6A; Farragut 2-4, 0-3 Region 2-6A.aragraph here.
No. 1 Bears survive Admiral attack
By JOE CANNON Sports Editor
Type your CHATTANOOGA — Top-ranked (6A) Bradley Central traveled to 11th-ranked (4A) Red Bank on Friday for the Lions’ Senior Night celebration and after a slow start returned home after tying its best start since the 1976 state championship run.
The Bears also started 8-0 in 2021 and 1976.
With a 35-0 shutout to remain unbeaten on the season, Bradley will turn its attention to the annual "Crosstown Conflict," against archrival Cleveland in an important Region 2-6A battle, at Benny Monroe Stadium Friday at 7 p.m. The game will help determine the region seeding and playoff position for both teams.
The 11th-ranked Blue Raiders dropped a 34-7 region game to No. 13 Maryville Friday, giving both teams 5-3 overall marks, but the Rebels are 2-2 in league play, while Cleveland is 1-2.
After a tough opening two quarters, Bradley rolled in the second half Friday evening with some quick-strike scoring.
The only score of the half came at the 3:50 mark nearing halftime when Bear senior wideout Jarrius Rogers hauled in a pass from Miami (Ohio)-commit Kaleb Martin, with Rogers lying flat on his back while pulling securing the catch after bobbling the ball.
Senior Skylar Pirkle made the first of five PATs for the evening and the teams went to halftime with the Bears on top by 7-0.
Bradley missed a chance to score earlier in the first quarter after reaching the Lion 7-yard line and had first and goal. On second and goal from the 3-yard line, the ball was stripped away for a Bear turnover, stopping the drive.
The Bears would have another turnover in the second half on an interception, but senior DB Damarius Ballard evened things up in the turnover department by snatching two "picks" of his own to stop scoring opportunities for Red Bank (5-3).
Good fortune came quickly to the Bears after the intermission on Friday the 13th when senior Tennessee-commit Marcus Goree Jr. returned the second-half kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown.
Pirkle added the extra point and it was 14-0 with only 12 seconds having elapsed in the third period.
“Before the play even started, I had already looked to see where I could go in case the kick came to me,” commented Goree afterwards. “It felt like that got us going a little bit.”
The "Black Hole" defense thwarted the Lions on their next possession, forcing a punt that saw another Tennessee-commit, "Boo"’ Carter scamper 75 yards for the second special team score and Pirtle made it 21-0 at 8:04 in the third.
Momentum was on the side of the Bears as the Lions could not mount a scoring drive and gave up the ball once again which led to the third quick score for the Bears on a pass from Martin, who connected with Carter in the left flat.
As he was racing toward the end zone, the ball was stripped free, but was knocked into the waiting arms teammate and Northwestern commit Tito Williams. The Martin-to-Carter-to Williams pass came at 5:43 in the third and gave the Bears a 28-0 lead after Pirkle’s fourth PAT of the game.
“I was blocking for 'Boo,' but he got ahead of me and it just happened,” Williams mentioned after the game. “The ball came up and I caught it for the easiest touchdown I’ve ever had.”
The final score of the night came with 5:50 in the game as Martin skirted over the left side, picking up solid blocking and scoring from 15 yards out on a quarterback draw.
Pirkle’s fifth PAT closed out the scoring at 35-0. A "mercy rule" running clock finished the game and the win on the road for the Bears.
Bradley's defense, which has been solid all season, notched their second shutout and continues to be quick and hard-nosed forcing quarterbacks and teams out of their comfort zone.
“We’re just playing really well on that side of the ball right now, which is good because our offense hasn’t gotten untracked yet. Not like it’s capable,” Bear head coach Damon Floyd noted in a post-game interview. “We’ll get that part figured out, but until we do, we’ve got a lot of confidence in our defense.”
Martin finished with 17 completions in 26 attempts for 202 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He added 44 yards rushing and another touchdown on eight carries.
Junior J’Alan Terry, who was not expected to start after being hurt in the previous game, had 13 rushes for 41 yards, while Rogers led Bear receivers with seven catches and 97 yards, with a score. Carter picked up 70 receiving yards on eight receptions.
The Bears picked up 19 first downs, while the Lions totaled 10 for their evening’s work.
Bradley had 113 net yards rushing and 202 passing for 315 total yards with the Lions picking up 76 on 31 rushes and 68 yards through the air on six of 16 passing for just 144 total.
The Bears were never forced to punt, while Red Bank booted the ball away five times for a 40-yard average.
Both teams were flagged five times each with the five-man zebra crew marking off 55 yards against the Bears and 50 yards against Red Bank.
The Bears have a chance to win the region title with upcoming games at Cleveland and a home contest with No. 6 Bearden (6-2, 4-0).
Bearden’s two non-region losses came in their first two games of the season when they lost to defending 2022 state champions, Knox West (5A) and Alcoa (3A).
If the Bears can pull it off with a couple of wins to close out the season it would be the first region title under Coach Floyd in his 18 years as head coach, a span in which Maryville has dominated with 22 consecutive region titles.
Friday, Oct. 13
at Tom Weathers Field
Bradley Central 0 7 21 7 — 35
Red Bank 0 0 0 0 — 0
BC — Jarrius Rogers 6-yd pass Kaleb Martin (Skylar Pirkle kick), 3:50
BC — Marcus Goree Jr. 89-yd. kick return (Pirtle kick), 11:48
BC — Boo Carter 75-yd. punt return (Pirtle kick), 8:04
BC — Tito Williams 2-yd. fumble recovery (Pirtle kick), 5:43
BC — Martin 15-yd. run (Pirtle kick), 5:15
First downs 19 10
Rushes-Yards 113 31-76
Passing 202 68
Total yards 315 144
Comp-Att-Int 17-26-1 6-16-2
Punts-Avg 0-0 5-40.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 5-55 5-40
Rushing: Kaleb Martin 8-44 TD, J'Alan Terry 13-41 (BC); RB 31-76.
Passing: Kaleb Martin 17-26-1 202 2 TDs; RB 6-16-2 144.
Receiving: Jarrius Rogers 7-97 TD, Boo Carter 8-70 (BC); RB n/a.
Records: No. 1 Bradley Central 8-0, 3-0 Region 2-6A; No. 11 Red Bank 5-3, 4-0 Region 4-4A.paragraph here.
No. 1 Bears maul ninth-ranked Mustangs
By RICHARD ROBERTS Banner Correspondent
The Bradley Central Bears showed whey they are the best Class 6A football team in the state Friday night as they left no doubt about their No. 1-ranking with a 35-0 dismantling of previously unbeaten Walker Valley in the “County Conflict at the Corral.”
The Mustangs (3-1) — ranked No. 9 in 5A — were stymied all night on the ground by the stingy “Black Hole Defense.” The Bears (4-0) held the Mustangs to just 90 yards on the ground and just 87 through the air.
On the other end of the spectrum, Bradley quarterback Kaleb Martin picked through the Walker Valley defense for 144 yards passing and helped the Bears to 178 on the ground with junior J'Alan Terry returning from an injury he suffered early in the season opener, to go off for 132 yards on 16 carries.
"Boo" Carter, a University of Tennessee commit, broke the school record with a 94-yard punt return for a TD to get the mauling started with 7:18 left in the opening quarter. The previous mark of 85 yards by Jim Clark in 1965 had stood for 58 years.
“That’s good coaching isn’t it,” joked veteran “Papa Bear” Damon Floyd, who notched win 115 in the chase of legendary Jimmie Lovell's program-best 124.
“Boo is a special player every time he gets the ball in his hands. They were even doubling him every play tonight and he still scores, not only on the punt return, but the touchdown pass," Floyd said.
“He’s just a heck of a player and we’re fortunate to have him. But, it’s a total team win and I’m happy for all of them.”
Carter also caught a 35-yard pass from Miami-Ohio commit Martin for a score in the second quarter that put Bradley out front 14-0 at halftime.
“We cost ourselves on special teams. We cost any chance energy-wise. I didn’t love our energy on the sideline,” lamented Mustang head coach Drew Akins. “They’re (Bradley’s) game play is what it is. That’s a great football team. It’s a hard-nosed football team. They have athletes everywhere.
“They did a really good job of stopping the run (allowing the Herd just 87 yards). We were trying to give ourselves a chance burn some clock. We had some success there at times, but couldn’t sustain any success.”
The Bears forced five Walker Valley punts in the first half as the Mustangs missed a chance to put points on the board with a missed field goal late in the first quarter while trailing 7-0.
Bradley wasted no time running the score to 21-0 on the opening kick of the second half as senior Jarrius Rogers took the Walker Valley pooch kick and returned it 70 yards to paydirt.
“We killed ourselves with the special teams. Special teams at the start of the game and special teams at the start of the second half,” said Akins. “We’ve got to learn from it.”
After holding the Mustangs on a fourth-and-9 the Bears turned to Terry who carried the ball a half dozen times to the Walker Valley 12, where Martin finished the drive to put Bradley out front 28-0 midway through the third quarter.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Martin found Rogers for 25 yards for the final score of the night before senior Skyler Pirtle split the uprights for the fifth time on the evening.
“It (the game) was really kind of ugly I felt,” said Coach Floyd of his team's three turnovers, as the team celebrated the victory. “We left a lot of points out there. We were sluggish in the first half turning the ball over twice. The defense obviously bowed their backs, but we were sluggish in the first half on offense.”
Leaving points on the board had not hurt the Mustangs in their previous three wins, until they ran up against the “Black Hole Defense,” never making it inside the Red Zone. Walker Valley failed to score inside the 20-yard line against Cleveland and missed out on points inside the 10 against Polk County and Notre Dame.
“All year we’ve done it, but we’ve been the better football team. We’re leaving a lot of points on the field,” Akins admitted. “Tonight, when you play a team that’s better than you and you leave points on the field it’s going to get away really quick.
“If we get to our side of the field and score a field goal at least you feel you can get some momentum out of that.”
Floyd said the Bears played better in the second half, but still have work to do.
“The second half we took a little bit more of what they were giving us,” he said. “The players made plays and it’s hard to complain over a 35-0 victory. But, we’ve got to get better.”
Bradley has a bye next week and will return to action at Bear Stadium Sept. 15 in a non-region matchup against Heritage (Georgia).
The Mustangs head into their Region 4-5A schedule Friday with a road game at Ooltewah (1-3).
“We knew it was going to be a great challenge. We have been super competitive in this game (the last two years), tonight we weren’t. I’m not super disappointed in that. They are the No. 1 team in 6A. They are an incredibly talented football team. What I was disappointed in was, when we went to the sidelines and we were not holding true to who we are. That’s what I was frustrated with,” Akins stated.
“Every goal, everything we want to accomplish is in front of us. Our message at the end was, ‘Go win a region championship.’ It’s right here in front of us, but we’ve got to learn from tonight. Tonight means nothing when it comes to the playoffs. Let’s get into region play, let’s fight in region play. Those are the games that are going to determine region payoffs."
Along with Terry's 132-yard tally, Carter posted 147 all-purpose yards, while Rogers garnered 101, both cashing in the long kick returns and a scoring aerial as well.
Martin completed 7-of-14 throws for a 144 yards and two TDS, plus carried the ball four times for another 16, scoring once himself.
Highly-recruited Tito Williams pulled in trio of passes for 57 yards, plus was in on seven tackles.
Freshman Zane McIntosh led the "Black Hole Defense" with 11 total takedowns, including two behind the line of scrimmage and a QB sack.
Braxton Arthur made eight total tackles, while senior Rodney Williams was in on seven, with a pair of TFL and a sack.
With Terry back, senior LB Jackson Wilson was able to concentrate on defense, with three solo takedowns, a trio of assists, a pair of TFL and a sack.
Leading the Herd offense was junior Malachi Martin who gained 62 yards on 21 carries, while classmate Zeke Garrison toted the rock eight times for 32 yards.
Senior QB Evan Schwarzl completed 7-of-15 pass for 87 yards, with junior Hudson Makuch pulling two for 55. Walker Valley was held to just 177 yards of total offense, while the Bears put 322, plus 170 on kick returns.
The Mustang defense was topped by senior Braxton Smith with seven solos tackles, an assists, a TFL, plus he broke up a pass.
Junior Mason Alexander not only made a half dozen solo tackles, but picked off a pass and returned it 20 yards. Senior Leundre Hinton had four solo takedowns, plus was in on two more tackles.
Friday, Sept. 8
at "The MAC"
Bradley Central 7 7 14 7 — 35
Walker Valley 0 0 0 0 — 0
BC — Boo Carter 94-yard punt return (Skylar Pirkle kick), 7:18
BC — Carter 35-yd pass from Kaleb Martin (Pirtle kick), 11:55
BC — Jarrius Rogers Wilson 70 kickoff return (Pirtle kick), 11:50
BC — Martin 12-yd run (Pirtle kick), 6:32
BC — Rogers 25-yd pass from Martin (Pirtle kick), 11:52
First downs 16 11
Rushes-Yards 26-178 39-90
Passing 144 87
Total yards 322 177
Comp-Att-Int 8-14-2 7-15-0
Punts-Avg 1-44 6-40.1
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 5-46 3-35
Rushing: J'Alan Terry 16-132, Kaleb Martin 4-16 TD, Simon Mullis 2-14, Boo Carter 2-12, Jackson Wilson 1-4 (BC); Malachi Martin 21-62, Zeke Garrison 8-32, Noah Jones 1-0, Evan Schwarzl 9- -4 (WV).
Passing: Kaleb Martin 8-14-2 144 2 TDs (BC); Evan Schwarzl 7-15-0, 87 (WV).
Receiving: Tito Williams 3-57, Boo Carter 2-41 TD, Jarrius Rogers 1-25 TD, Max Wilson 1-21, J'Alan Terry 1-0 (BC); Hudson Makuch 2-55, Roman Eulo 3-18, Tate Roundtree 1-13, Zeke Garrison 1-1 (WV).
Defense: Zane McIntosh 1 solo, 10 asts, 2 TFL, 1 sack; Braxton Arthur 2 solos, 6 asts.; Tito Williams 3 solos, 4 asts.; Rodney Williams 1 solo, 6 asts., 2 TFL, 1 sack; Jackson Wilson 3 solos, 3 asts, 2 TFL, 1 sack; Ben Sollins 1 solo, 5 asts., 1 TFL, 1 sack; Landon Scott 2 solos, 3 asts.; Wiley Suskawicz 1 solo, 4 asts., 2 TFL, 2 sacks; AJ Williams 5 asts, 1 sack; Boo Carter 4 solos; Marcus Goree Jr. 3 solos (BC): Braxton Smith 7 solos, 1 ast., 1 TFL, 1 PBU; Mason Alexander 6 solos, INT w/20-yd. return; Leundre Hinton 4 solos, 2 ast.; Tyran Forte 2 solos, 3 ast., 1 TFL; Jacob Hollingsworth 4 solos; Eli Cross 3 solos, 1 ast.; Jack Shonts 3 solos; Zeke Garrison 1 solo, 2 ast.; Spencer MaKuch 1 ast., 1 INT w/10-yd return (WV).
Records: No. 1 (6A) Bradley Central 4-0; No. 9 (5A) Walker Valley 3-1.
Top-ranked Bears maul Lions
By GARY OWNBEY Banner Correspondent
Oct 14, 2023 Updated Oct 14, 2023