Taking the field for the 1,000th time in the program’s history, the current Bradley squad bounced back from their worst performance of the season the previous week with one of their best to claim a 36-7 District 5-AAA victory over Soddy-Daisy.
“It was great to see all those former players and to hear about the history of the program, but the best thing I saw was our guys playing with passion,” declared Bear head coach Damon Floyd. “We had a down week against McMinn County. We put that behind us, and our guys bounced back. That’s a testament to their character.”
“This was a great way to send our seniors off,” he added. “Getting a big win like this in their last game at Bear Stadium is a memory that will stay with them for a lifetime.”
Stopping a three-game slide, and moving to 5-4 on the season and 2-3 in district play, Bradley took the first step it needed to remain in the hunt for its fourth straight TSSAA playoff berth, a mark no other Bear senior class has accomplished.
The Black-and-Gold will wrap up the regular season Friday evening with a trip to district newcomer East Hamilton (7-2, 4-1). The fourth-ranked (5A) Hurricanes are coming off a tough 27-24 loss to 10th-ranked Rhea County Friday evening in Evensville.
East Hamilton can secure the 5-AAA championship with a victory over the Bears, while a Bradley victory will throw the district race into a three-way tie at the top, depending on the results of third-ranked Ooltewah’s (7-2, 4-1) trip to McMinn County (4-5, 3-2). Seventh-ranked Cleveland (7-3, 5-1) upset the Owls 26-21 Friday evening to wrap up its regular season.
If the Bears are able to calm the Hurricanes, it would secure their spot in the Class 6A postseason, while a loss would put Bradley on the playoff bubble.
Coach Floyd’s sleuth [group of Bears] came out Friday night like it was salmon spawning season on the river.
After the defense forced the first of three straight three-and-outs, the Bradley offense needed just five plays to cover 65 yards to paydirt.
Senior Logan Fetzner, who gained 101 yards on a dozen carries, took the ball into Trojan territory with a 21-yard jaunt before classmate Brett Standifer tossed a swing-pass lateral to Christian Hamilton and the junior scampered in from 26 yards out for the game’s first score.
It was evident things were going the Bears’ way when the ensuing extra-point attempt snap skipped, but senior holder Baylor Terrell alertly jumped up with the ball and hit Fetzner for a two-point conversion pass with less then 2 1/2 minutes gone off the clock.
Bradley put the game out of reach in the second quarter, putting 21 points on the scoreboard in the 12-minute span.
The first two scores came when Standifer lit up his former team’s defense with touchdown tosses to senior Dee Crisp.
The first score came on a 19-yard fade route with the 6-foot-2 leaper out-jumping a pair of Trojans far in the end zone, while the second came on a swing pass to the flats that Crisp got a couple of good blocks on and was able to break free down the sideline to outrun defenders for 42 yards to paydirt.
Wrapping up three scores in three straight possessions, Fetzner capped an eight-play, 53-yard drive with a 19-yard dash with 3:22 left in the half.
After taking a 29-0 lead into the locker rooms at the intermission, Bradley picked up where it left off in the second half, scoring on its second possession to force a running clock.
Taking over on their own 23, the Bears quickly moved into the Red Zone with a 15-yard Fetzner run sandwiched in between a 12-yard reception by junior Daniel Clark and a 39-yarder on a tremendous catch by senior Cal Pickel to put the ball at the Trojan 3. Terrell did the honors from there, stretching to break the plane of goal at the 7:24 mark of the third frame. Senior Clayton Steels finished off a perfect night with his fourth extra-point kick.
Bradley’s attempt at its first shutout since it played Soddy-Daisy the last time [Aug. 31, 2012] was spoiled when with six minutes to go in the contest, and the Bradley second-team offense on the field, Trojan defensive back Jacob Lemons stepped in front of a Bear pass and returned it 81 yards for a “Pick 6.”
“Our defense played great, especially our front seven,” praised Coach Floyd after his squad allowed the visitors just seven yards of offense in the final 24 minutes. “Our defensive line and linebacker really got after them.”
Soddy’s offense managed just 121 yards in the contest, half of which came on a 61-yard pass to move the Trojans into the Red Zone for the only time of the evening, but the Bradley defense responded by forcing the ball to be turned over on downs.
The balanced Bear offense posted 407 yards, with 234 coming on the ground and 173 through the air.
Along with Fetzner reaching the century mark, freshman backup quarterback Cole Copeland added 47 yards on eight rushes, while Hamilton had 36 yards on four carries.
Standifer, who was the Trojan starter for three seasons before transferring to Bradley, completed 11-of-18 passes for 159 yards, plus rushed 10 times for 43 yards.
Crisp pulled in four passes for 83 yards, while Pickel had 51 yards on a trio of catches.
“We were able to spread the field with some deep passes, and that helped open up our running game,” expressed Coach Floyd. “We made them defend the whole field, plus we threw and caught better than we did against McMinn.”
Bradley now has a record of 563-408-29 in its 98-year gridiron history. The Bears are now 21-14 against the Trojans.
Soddy-Daisy 0 0 0 7 — 7
Bradley Central 8 21 7 0 — 36
BC — Christian Hamilton 26-yd run (Logan Fetzner pass from Baylor Terrell), 9:36
BC — Dee Crisp 19-yd pass from Brett Standifer (Clayton Steels kick), 11:07
BC — Crisp 42-yd pass from Standifer (Steels kick), 8:40
BC — Logan Fetzner 19-yd run (Steels kick), 3:22
BC — Baylor Terrell 3-yd run (Steels kick), 7:24
SD — Jacob Lemons 81-yd interception return (Christian Dean kick), 6:01
First downs 5 17
Rushes-yards 12- -13 38-234
Passing yards 134 173
Total yards 121 407
Comp-Att-Int 10-32-0 13-24-2
Punts -Ave. 8-33.3 3-39.7
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties 1-15 7-46
Rushing: Cale Morgan 2-8, CJ Blue 4-3, Caleb Jordan 2-2, Hunter Maynor 4- -26 (SD); Logan Fetzner 12-101 TD, Cole Copeland 8-47, Brett Standifer 10-43, Christian Hamilton 4-36 TD, Baylor Terrell 2-4 TD, Miller Clark 2-7, Jamey Billups 1- -1 (BC).
Passing: Hunter Maynor 10-32-0 134 (SD); Brett Standifer 11-18-1 159 2 TDs, Cole Copeland 2-6-1 14 (BC).
Receiving: Tre Carter 4-98, Jake Flinn 2-22, Cale Morgan 2-10, Logan Southerland 1-4, CJ Brown 1-0 (SD); Dee Crisp 4-83 2 TDs, Cal Pickel 3-51, Daniel Clark 2-18, Swan Parker 1-11, Logan Fetzner 1-3, Tyler Carpenter 1-4, Chandler Duggan 1- -2 (BC).
Records: Soddy-Daisy 3-6, 0-5 District 5-AAA; Bradley 5-4, 2-3 District 5-AAA.