Having your offense clicking on all cylinders — exciting.
Beating a former coach and his state-ranked team — priceless.
Such is the case for Bradley Central after the Bears withstood the powerful running attack of Bill Price’s fifth-ranked (4A) Signal Mountain squad for a 38-27 victory Friday evening at Bear Stadium.
“Everybody’s overlooking the fact that we completely shut down [only 31 yards on four completions and a ‘Pick 6’ interception] their passing game,” joked current Bradley coach Damon Floyd after the Eagles rushed the ball 66 times for 378 yards.
“We knew they [SM] have a tremendous running game and they were going to be able to move the sticks [get first downs],” he added. “We told our guys just to keep battling on every play, and we did. They may have put up a lot of yards, but our defense came up with some big plays and two huge fourth-down stops to stall drives.”
Meanwhile for the second straight week, the Bear offense was in sync, with senior quarterback Brett Standifer effectively mixing the run and pass 371 yards and four touchdowns, plus a 33-yard Clayton Steels field goal. Bradley had posted 466 yards of offense the previous week in a 38-14 victory over Walker Valley.
The 6-foot-2 Soddy-Daisy transfer led the Black-and-Gold with 98 rushing yards on 18 carries, including two that ended in the end zone, plus completed 15-of-23 passes for 228 yards and two more scores.
“We knew it would take a little time for Brett [Standifer] to get used to his teammates and how we do things, but he’s comfortable now and is doing all we could of ask of him,” commented Coach Floyd. “The people around him are helping out. The offensive line is giving him good time to throw, the receivers are making the catches, and [Logan] Fetzner has been able to get his [running] game going.”
Handing Signal Mountain just its second loss of the season, marked the end of Bradley’s non-district schedule as the season will wrap up with five straight District 5-AAA opponents, beginning back-to-back road battles against the current league leaders.
Bradley (4-1, 1-0) travels eighth-ranked (5A) Ooltewah (5-1, 2-0) Friday and No. 4 (5A) Cleveland on Oct. 11. The Owls were able to slip past Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett 10-3 Friday, but saw leading-rusher Desmond Pittman go down in the second quarter with a knee injury. The Blue Raiders struggled early but came on strong in a 35-25 loss to third-ranked (5A) Knoxville West Friday.
“We have too many good teams in our district to look ahead,” explained Coach Floyd, as 5-AAA has a trio of state-ranked teams as East Hamilton (4-1, 1-1) is sixth in the same 5A poll as Cleveland and Ooltewah. “We have to take it week by week and concentrate on whoever the opponent is that week. We preach to our guys to win every play, no matter what the score is or how much time is on the clock.”
Bradley stunned Signal Mountain (4-2) early Friday with a pair of Dee Crisp opening quarter scores for a 14-0 advantage less than nine minutes into the contest.
After the Bear defense ended the game’s opening possession by stopping a fake punt seven yards short of the first down marker, they needed just three plays to find the end zone. Following an incomplete pass on the first play, Standifer hit junior Daniel Clark for a 22-yard gain then found Crisp across the middle on a deep rout and after he faked an Eagle defender to the ground, raced in for the score on the 38-yard play.
After the teams traded punts, Crisp ended the third SM series by snagging an interception and turning on the after burners to out run a trio of trailing Eagles for 37 yards to paydirt. Steels added extra point kicks following both scores.
Coach Price, who led the Bears from 1998-2002, finally got his team into the end zone with an 18 straight running plays in a 68-yard drive that took almost seven minutes off the clock before Diamez Franklin scooted the final 17 yards with 8:14 left in the first half.
Bradley answered with a 10-play scoring drive that starred Standifer connecting on a trio of passes, including a 20- and 13-yarder to Crisp, plus he carried the ball a half dozen times, including the final four yards before breaking the plane of the goal.
With a little over three and a half minutes to go before the break, the Eagles were able to respond with their second scoring drive, covering 56 yard on eight plays before 260-pound senior fullback James McClellan bulled in from three yards out with 52 ticks left in the half.
After the intermission, the Bears went back up by double digits with a 10-play, 82-yard march, capped by a 34-yard scoring pass from Standifer to senior Cal Pickel, to open the third quarter.
The see-saw scoring continued on the third play after the ensuing kickoff when Franklin appeared to be trapped for a loss but broke a couple of tackles in the backfield, put a strong move on another defender and was off to the races for a 49-yard dash to paydirt. “We had such good pursuit to the ball when he broke those tackles in the backfield, he got free and was gone,” remarked Floyd.
The Bears were able to get another score just before the third quarter clock ran out as Standifer capped a 54-yard drive with a 10-yard scoot with just a tenth of a second left on the scoreboard.
Coming up with its second consecutive series ending fourth-down stop, Bradley made its final scoring drive midway through the final frame, chewing up the clock with a 12-play march that ended with Steels’s field goal attempt splitting the uprights from 33 yards out to put the difference at 15 points with 3:39 remaining.
The visitors were able to mount one final scoring series, going 65 yards, but with all 11 plays coming on the ground before McClellan punched it from four yards out, it only left 26 ticks on the clock. After the Bear recovered the onside kick attempt, they were able take a knee on the game’s final play to run off the rest of the time.
“We knew we were in for a battle with them,” declared Coach Floyd. “They [SM] are good at what they do, but we were able to come up with the big plays to stop them when we needed to and our offense gave plenty of room to work with.”
McClellan, who came into the game with more than 600 rushing yards, carried the ball 31 times for 191 yards, while Franklin added another 144 yards on 14 rushes.
Bradley countered with senior linebacker Eduardo Trevino being in on 15 tackles, including two of the three fourth-down stops, while sophomore DJ Moyse was had more than 10 total hits, including the game’s only sack and another tackle for loss.
Along with Standifer’s impressive numbers, the Bear offense featured five catches each by Crisp and Pickel for 94 and 73 yards respectively, while Clark pulled in a pair for 35 yards and Tyler Carpenter made a great 25-yard catch. Fetzner added 35 yards on seven carries.
Signal Mountain 0 14 7 6 — 27
Bradley Central 14 7 12 3 — 36
BC — Dee Crisp 38-yd pass from Brett Standifer (Clayton Steels kick), 8:16
BC — Crisp 37-yd. interception return (Steels kick), 3:06
SM — Diamez Franklin 17-yd. run (Houston McLain kick), 8:14
BC — Standifer 4-yd. run (Steels kick), 3:32
SM — James McClellan 3-yd. run (McLain kick), :52
BC — Cal Pickel 34-yd. pass from Standifer (kick failed), 7:40
SM — Franklin 49-yd. run (McLain kick), 6:28
BC — Standifer 10-yd. run (pass failed), :00.1
BC — Steels 33-yd. field goal, 3:39
SM — McClellan 4-yd. run (kick failed), :26
First downs 20 18
Rushes-yards 66-378 27-143
Passing yards 31 228
Total yards 409 371
Comp-Att-Int 4-6-1 15-23-0
Punts -Ave. 1-38.0 2-44.5
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 0-0
Penalties 6-55 4-35
Rushing: James McClellen 31-191 2 TDs, Diamez Franklin 14-44 2 TDs, Hunter VanDyken 8-26, Kaleb Menzel 5-8, Jack Teter 7-7, Nathan Johnson 1-1 (SM); Brett Standifer 18-98 2 TDs, Logan Fetzner 7-35, Baylor Terrell 2-11 (BC).
Passing: Jack Teter 4-6-1 31 (SM); Brett Standifer 15-23-0 228 2 TDs (BC).
Receiving: Hunter VanDyken 1-19, James McClellen 1-5, JR Wilson 1-4, Kaleb Menzel 1-3 (SM); Dee Crisp 5-94 TD, Cal Pickel 5-73 TD, Daniel Clark 2-35, Tyler Carpenter 1-25, Baylor Terrell 2-1 (BC).
Records: Signal Mountain 4-2; Bradley 4-1.
High School Football
Team District Overall
#8 Ooltewah 2-0 5-1
#4 Cleveland 2-0 4-2
Bradley Central 1-0 4-1
#6 East Hamilton 1-1 4-1
McMinn County 0-1 1-4
Walker Valley 0-2 3-3
Soddy-Daisy 0-2 2-3
Friday, Sept. 27
Bradley Central 36, Signal Mountain 27
Knox West 35, Cleveland 25
Polk County 33, Walker Valley 7
Ooltewah 10, Dobyns-Bennett 3
Tyner 49, Soddy-Daisy 30
McMinn County, East Hamilton had byes
Friday, Oct. 4
Bradley Central at Ooltewah, 7:30
Cleveland at East Hamilton, 7:30
Soddy-Daisy at McMinn County, 7:30
Walker Valley has a bye
Team District Overall
Sequoyah 2-0 4-1
#7 Polk County 1-0 4-1
Sweetwater 1-0 3-2
McMinn Central 0-2 2-4
Loudon 0-2 1-5
Friday, Sept. 27
Polk County 33, Walker Valley 7
McMinn Central 43, Meigs County 21
Loudon 42, East Ridge 7
Silverdale Academy 24, Sweetwater 21
Sequoyah had a bye
Friday, Oct. 4
Polk County at Sequoyah, 7:30
Sweetwater at McMinn Central, 7:30
Loudon has a bye