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Cats Rally; Beat Dothan in O.T.
November 2, 2013Bainbridge High School
The entire Bainbridge High football team – with one exception – gathered around coach Jeff Littleton after the Bearcats stopped Dothan’s overtime possession.
Senior placekicker Daniel Provence stayed on the field, practicing his form, staying loose and gathering his thoughts.
“ I’ve been waiting all season for this, really,” Provence said. “I love moments like this. I was just trying to get in the zone. That’s all I was really thinking about.”
On first down, Provence kicked a 27-yard field goal down the middle that lifted Bainbridge to a 27-24 overtime victory. The winning kick started a wild celebration that seemed unlikely when the Bearcats fell behind 17-3 with four minutes left in the first half.
Bainbridge improved to 5-4 on the season. Dothan High’s season ended at 6-4. The Tigers needed to win, plus get some help, to earn a playoff berth.
Dothan coach Kelvis White said the Tigers’ failure to finish cost them more than the finale at Rip Hewes Stadium.
“ That’s been the thing this season. I think three of the four games we lost we just didn’t finish the deal,” White said. “That’s something we’ve got to learn from and put an emphasis on next year and work hard to get better at.”
Certainly, the Tigers started strong. Senior defensive back Josh Bighems stepped in front of quarterback Preston Norris’ pass for Tavarius Bowens, picked it off around his 30 and returned it near midfield to end Bainbridge’s opening drive.
A 12-yard gain by running back Tyson Williams and a 17-yard run by Isiah Long got the Tigers close. Luis Pimentel’s 29-yard field goal put Dothan up 3-0 with 4:57 left in the first quarter.
A short punt out of poor field position gave the Tigers the ball back on the Bainbridge 37. Nine plays later, Pimentel added a 37-yard field goal, but was roughed on the attempt and Dothan took first-and-goal on the 10.
A pass interference penalty gave the Tigers a first down at the 5. Williams carried to the 3, then Long scored on the next play for a 10-0 Dothan lead with 11:32 left in the first half. Evan Hogan kicked through the extra point after Pimentel was injured on the roughing call.
Bainbridge answered with its first scoring drive of the night. Craig Cooper took a middle screen 18 yards to the Dothan 44. Two plays later, workhorse running back Aaron Calloway picked up 13 yards to the 28. That set up a 40-yard field goal by Provence that made it 10-3, Dothan, with 7:13 left in the second quarter.
Dothan’s passing game struck quickly on its next possession. Tigers quarterback Khiran Williams fired a 39-yard pass up the left sideline to Tyson Williams on a third-and-17. Four plays later, Connor Eggleton ran past Shawon Gardner and caught Khiran Williams’ 25-yard touchdown pass up the right sideline. That gave Dothan a 17-3 lead with 3:58 left in the first half.
Bainbridge wasn’t done, however. Craig Cooper returned the kickoff 53 yards to the Dothan 32. Five Calloway runs in the next six plays created a third-and-goal from the 10. Norris threw a swing pass into the right flat to Cooper, who broke a tackle and dove into the end zone with 12.3 seconds left in the half.
That late score seemed to fire up the Bearcats because they controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball for nearly all of the third quarter. Norris hit Gardner on a sideline-and-up route for a 41-yard touchdown pass that tied the game 17-all with four minutes left in the third.
Dothan managed just one first down in the third quarter and Pimentel punted for the third time in that period. However, it was fumbled and Brandian Freeman recovered for the Tigers on the Bainbridge 37. While Dothan couldn’t take advantage, it flipped field position and gave the Tigers some momentum going into the fourth quarter.
Calloway fumbled going off right tackle and Dothan’s Jordon Small scooped it up and returned it about 20 yards for an apparent touchdown. However, the score was negated due to a penalty on the return. Still, Dothan’s Long pounded it in from the 3 as the Tigers took a 24-17 lead with 11:24 remaining in the game.
“ It was a huge play. The offense was a little flat, defense gave them a little life, gave them an opportunity to score – and we did,” White said of the fumble.
“ But at the end of the day, Bainbridge just did a great job of going down and scoring. They stuck with what they wanted to do.”
Which was pound away with Calloway. The big back carried 32 times for 141 yards. He finally broke a big one, a 32-yard gain off left tackle that gave Bainbridge a first-and-goal at the Dothan 9. A Bearcats penalty and three more Calloway runs set up fourth-and-goal at the 7 with 2:31 remaining.
After both teams took timeouts, Norris rolled to his left and completed a pass to Greg Cooper for the touchdown. Provence’s PAT tied it at 24-all and the game went to overtime.
Dothan’s possession ended on third-and-goal from the 6, when Tavarius Bowens intercepted Khiran Williams’ slant pass for Destin Gaskin.
Bainbridge didn’t even run a play, electing to send out Provence, who ended it with his field goal.