2010-12-08 / Sports

Bears’ playoff run ends to close successful season

By Anne Marie Kyzer annemariek@thetruecitizen.com

Fans lined Sixth Street to cheer on the Bears as they left for their long road trip Friday. Fans lined Sixth Street to cheer on the Bears as they left for their long road trip Friday. Burke County High School’s football team ended its best run in more than a decade last Friday night in Carrollton with a 49-15 loss in the semi-finals of the AAA state playoffs.

Head Coach Eric Parker said his players may be disappointed but that just speaks to the heart they had for success this season.

“I don’t think you make it that far and not want to finish. But like I told the kids after the game, there’s only one team in AAA that will finish the season happy and that’s the one who wins the championship. Everyone else will be a little disappointed,” he said. “It says a lot of our kids that they weren’t satisfied. They didn’t just stop and start patting themselves on the back after winning region. They really wanted to win (state).”

Montres Kitchens scores after catching a pass from Corey Mayton. Devin Beverly carried the ball for the Bears’ first touchdown in the Carrollton game. Montres Kitchens scores after catching a pass from Corey Mayton. Devin Beverly carried the ball for the Bears’ first touchdown in the Carrollton game. The season may have ended earlier than they hoped, but it still proved big for the Bears.

Their stake as one of the final four teams left on the state playoff bracket marked the deepest run the Bears have made since 1997 when they played in the title game. This was only the second season in the school’s history to progress to the quarterfinals.

The 2010 Bears won the school’s fourth region championship, and the seniors became the first to collect two region titles in their four years of high school.

Ending with an 11-3 record, the team went 8-0 at home and collected 10 straight wins between Sept. 24 and Nov. 26. They were undefeated in Region 3-AAA and outscored their region opponents collectively 263-75. By the end of the season, the Burke County offense had scored a total of 500 points. Coach Parker had also collected his 100th career win.

With a significant number of starters and big contributors set to return, they’ve set the standards high.

“We definitely have some things to build on,” Coach Parker said. “When you look at the big picture, we got some really good things started and, hopefully, we’re going follow through with them.”

The enthusiasm for big time football generated among the players was paralleled by the excitement of Burke County fans this year. Bear fans filled the home side stands for many of the games and a significant number followed the team as far away as Lowndes County. Hundreds traveled to Carrollton last weekend.

“There was tremendous turnout from fans. The number of people who showed up to support us was unbelievable,” Coach Parker commented about Carrollton. “I feel like we’ve started something here that’s going to be really special. Folks will be really excited about next season.”

ON CARROLLTON

The Bears started strong with the game tied 7-7 in the first quarter, but a surge by Carrollton in the second gave them a 35-7 lead at the half that was simply too hard to overcome.

“They were a good football team and we made a few too many mistakes to beat a team like that. They truly were a top four football team,” Coach Parker said. “I just felt like with a break here and there we could have been a lot more competitive. We just didn’t get a lot of those breaks. As it turned out, they just didn’t make many mistakes at all.”

But playing such a talented team in their state-of-the-art facilities, complete with artificial turf, may give the returning Bears an even greater taste for playing the big games.

“Having a chance to get there and see what it’s all about…that was a very valuable experience for us,” Coach Parker said.

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