2012-08-29 / Sports

Bears refocus after loss to Thomson

By David Stembridge Stembridge@gmail.com

Tom Ellison (47) and Malik Lee (25) block Bulldogs to clear the way for ball carrier Reginald Grubbs. Tom Ellison (47) and Malik Lee (25) block Bulldogs to clear the way for ball carrier Reginald Grubbs. The stands were full and expectations were high as the Burke County Bears took the field last Friday to take on the Thomson Bulldogs in their first game of the season.

But three unanswered touchdowns dashed hopes of a big win, and Thomson walked away with the 21-14 victory.

Burke County started strong with a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter by Donquell Green, who totaled 176 yards rushing in the game. But the Bulldogs didn’t back down so easily. They responded with 304 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns of their own.

Bears Head Coach Eric Parker said his team didn’t play badly but not well enough to beat a “pretty good football team.”

“It was a close game,” he said, noting dropped passes that could have made the difference in the game. “Both sides, offense and defense, made too many mistakes, and we just didn’t play as efficiently as we like to play. We’ve got to get better at throwing the ball and completing. You know Thomson came in and dared us to throw, and it worked for them.”

Coach Parker believes this was the wakeup call the kids needed to gear up for the season ahead.

“It’s not time to push the panic button,” he said. “I think we’ve got to get that sense of urgency that I’ve really been telling the kids about, and I think that takes a lot of pressure off of us.”

But their success will boil down to how badly they want to win.

“I just don’t know how hungry this team is,” Coach Parker said. “We are going to have to work hard to overachieve if we are going have the type of success we want to have, and in order to overachieve we are going to have to be hungry.”

Coach Parker told the kids after the game that he believes they have a chance to be a really good team. He encouraged them “to go out there every remaining game and play like we’re underdogs - something that we haven’t had to do for a while.”

He believes that will take effort and endurance.

“Our guys understand that we go out and play tough people early,” he said. “I think in the big scheme playing the tough teams early has been effective for us; but we have some more big games coming up in the next few weeks, and we’ll need to be better prepared and more organized. This group of guys has a lot of experience, and I think they know what we need to do regarding the little things.”

The Bears have this week off and will host Hephzibah Sept. 7, in the Bear Den.

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