2018-09-12 / Sports

Bears whup Warriors

Burke County Bears senior quarterback Chad Crumbley on the run against Wilkerson County. The Bears defeated the Warriors 52-6 in Friday's game at the Bear Den. Burke County Bears senior quarterback Chad Crumbley on the run against Wilkerson County. The Bears defeated the Warriors 52-6 in Friday's game at the Bear Den. Having started the season 0-2 and on a night with Burke County’s two leading rushers out with injuries, one might question if a young Bears’ team would show up ready to play last Friday against Wilkinson County.

Those questions were put to rest, however, when senior Devin Wilson took the opening kickoff on his own 12-yard line and ran it back 88 yards for the Bears’ first touchdown of the night.

Jacob Hickman’s successful point after attempt put the Bears up 7-0 just 14 seconds into the game. From there, Burke County (1-2) never looked back as it had its way with the Warriors (Region 7-A, 0-3), defeating them handily 52-6.

With the Bears’ quarterback, Juan’ya Dove, and running back, Leon McGee, sidelined with injuries, it was scoring by committee as eight different Bears’ players put points on the board. Junior back-up quarterback Michael Johnson got his first start for Burke County, helping the Bears amass 232 yards of total offense with 181 yards on the ground and 51 through the air. Johnson also accounted for two of Burke’s touchdowns. Behind him were a host of Bears running, catching and scoring runs.

“With them being a single-A school, we felt like if we could execute our game plan, then our depth would be a factor,” Bears’ head coach Eric Parker said. “We just kept throwing fresh bodies at them and wore them down. We were able to play some really young guys in the fourth quarter, so it was a good night.”

After their bye week last Friday, the Bears find themselves in an eight-game stretch with no more breaks until after the Thomson game on Oct. 26.

“Realistically, you play three to four games, have an off-week, then play three or four more,” Parker said. “Eight games in a row, that’s a concern. It requires a strategy.”

Parker said that grueling schedule ahead solidified the decision to hold both Dove and McGee out against Wilkinson County. Dove has an ankle injury and McGee is dealing with a hamstring issue. As of Monday, Parker was still uncertain if the two will return against Evans this Friday, Sept. 14, in the Bear Den.

Evans (3-AAAAAA) is the first of back-to-back AAAAAA schools Burke will face and while they are currently 0-4 after falling to Liberty County Friday night, Parker isn’t taking anything for granted.

“Anytime you play a AAAAAA school, you have to consider the depth factor. Evans made a decision to go with their young players. They’re playing a lot of sophomores and freshmen. We can’t depend on them to make freshmen mistakes, Friday could be the night they put it all together.”

After Wilson’s opening score, the Bears would score on their next two possessions of the first quarter with senior Makail Roberson scoring on a 4-yard run and senior Chad Crumbley on an 8-yarder. Hickman’s point after attempts would put the Bears up 21-0 with just over four minutes remaining in the first.

An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after Crumbley’s touchdown would give the Warriors decent field position on the ensuing kickoff. Wilkinson County would cross into Bears’ territory on that drive before punting the ball away.

The Bears would make little progress on their next possession and were pinned back deep on the punt attempt. A bad snap allowed the Warriors to swarm Hickman on Burke County’s own 4-yard line. With just over a minute left in the first, Wilkinson County would score but fall short on the point after, making it 21-6.

Johnson would score his fist of two touchdowns in the second quarter, the first on a 13-yard run and the second from 1-yard out. Hickman’s kicks would put the Bears up 35-6.

A 26-yard field goal by Hickman just before the end of the half would send Burke County to the locker room with a hefty lead of 38-6.

Junior running back Artez Grubbs would score Burke County’s only touchdown of the third quarter. Hickman’s kick would stretch the lead to 45-6.

The teams would play on a running clock in the fourth quarter. Senior running back Keith Walker would score the final touchdown of the night for the Bears. That was capped off by a successful point after by freshmen kicker, Andrew Beckman, making the final score 52-6.

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