CHATTANOOGA — Bradley Central seems to be “snake bit” when comes to playing in the annual Best of Preps Jamboree and Friday night was no exception.
Their bad luck doesn’t come in the final score but in respect to coming out of the 20-minute contests unscathed.
The Bears claimed a 7-6 victory over E.K. Slaughter’s new Red Bank squad at Finley Stadium, but once again saw a key starter go down with an injury.
“We lost Eduardo (Trevino),” lamented Bradley head coach Damon Floyd. “He dislocated his pinky (finger) and will be out a month. He’s going to Knoxville to get checked out by the UT doctor. Although he didn’t break the bone, the way his ligament did, the doctor down here said he felt surgery would be needed to prevent any problems with the finger later on.”
“We’ve gotten a starter hurt every year we’ve come down here,” he added.
Trevino is a starting defensive end, which is a position the Bears were already missing senior starter Jordan Sharp, who has been out with a separated shoulder. “We expect Jordan back this week. We hope,” the coach stated.
Bradley is also minus junior James Peck who is competing for the starting center position on the offensive line. Peck also suffered a shoulder injury during Tuesday’s multi-team scrimmage in Knoxville.
As far as Bradley’s on field performance Friday evening, Floyd was pleased with his team’s offense, but disappointed in the defensive performance.
“We were effective on offense. Bryce (Copeland) did a good job of directing the first drive for a score,” the coach assessed. “Bryce is hard to defend, because he makes good decisions and can beat you with his arm or his feet.”
In his fourth year as the starting quarterback, Copeland led the Bears on an 11-play, 66-yard scoring drive.
The senior lefty completed 2-of-4 passes for 26 yards, plus when he was being pressure and couldn’t find an open receiver, he reversed field and scrambled for a 14-yard touchdown run, thanks to a key comeback pancake block from wide receiver Cal Pickel.
“Bryce did a great job of escaping the pressure and Cal laying out that defender sprung Bryce for the touchdown,” praised Floyd.
The Bears defense looked good against the run, allowing the Lions just 10 yards on seven carries, but Red Bank was able to move the ball through the air, completing 8-of-10 passes for 100 yards.
Red Bank took the opening possession and marched from their own 30 to the Bear 31 before Trevino and Jordan Timmons teamed up to throw a Lion ball carrier for a three-yard loss on a fourth-and-2 play to end the drive.
After the Bears scored on their first possession and junior kicker Clayton Steels booted the game-deciding extra-point, Red Bank was able to go 70 yards in a half dozen plays, including four complete passes, with Hagen Wilkey scoring on a three-yard quarterback keeper with 5:30 on the clock.
Slaughter, who coached the last three years at Cleveland High, decided to go for the win with a two-point conversion, but the pass fell incomplete thanks to some strong pressure by the Bear defensive line.
After a quick three-and-out by the Bear second-team offense, Red Bank had one final try. However, after a nine-yard completion on first down, Bradley junior defensive tackle Jackie Black sacked the Lion QB for a six-yard loss.
After an incomplete pass on third down, the game’s final play was a screen pass that Timmons read and brought down the Lion ball carrier on a heads-up play just before the clock ran out.
Senior Robert Bartolameolli was in on a trio of tackles for the Bears, including meeting a Lion ball carrier in the backfield for a two-yard loss.
“We had some good plays defensively, but overall we gave up way too much yardage through the air,” Floyd commented. “I feel like our offense is where we want it to be, but defensively we still have some work to do.”
Bradley will open the TSSAA season Friday night with a trip to Benton to face the always tough Polk County Wildcats.
“Polk is a tough first game and will really test our defense,” Floyd assessed. “We need to get tougher in a hurry.”
Along with Bradley three other District 5-AAA teams saw jamboree play Friday at Finley, but only Rhea County joined the Bears as victors, stopping Tyner Academy 6-0. Coach Doug Greene’s Golden Eagles scored on a 28-yard pass from Krischan Goins to Demetrius Patterson.
McMinn County and 2011 state runner-up Baylor battled to a scoreless tie in a contest that was halted with four minutes remaining due to lightning. Former Walker Valley standout Kelvin Wells had three carries for 34 yards for the Cherokees.
McCallie blanked Soddy-Daisy by a 14-0 tally as quarterback Nelson Johnston ran for a five-yard touchdown and hit C.J. Fritz for a 16-yard scoring toss.
In the only contest that didn’t involve a 5-AAA squad, Signal Mountain pounded Chattanooga Central 21-0, despite having played Ridgeland in a scrimmage Friday morning.
Coach Bill Price aired it out with a 70-yard scoring toss on the first play of the matchup as Reese Phillips found Chris Abernathy for the score. Phillips, who has already committed to play for the University of Kentucky, threw for almost 200 yards in the 20-minute scrimmage, including hitting C.J. Johnson with just over a minute and a half on the clock.
come out on top
From Staff Reports
CHATTANOOGA — Both Walker Valley and Cleveland High claimed victories in Saturday evening’s Best of Preps Jamboree at Finley Stadium.
The Mustangs edged Brainerd by a 7-6 tally, while the Blue Raiders shutout Howard 7-0.
Full details will be in Monday’s edition of the Banner.