Bears beat Golden Eagles in SE Classic

By PATRICK MacCOON Sports Writer
Posted 8/12/17

EVENSVILLE — Studying Bradley Central’s offense, it doesn’t take long to see an area of play Damon Floyd’s team is stacked at.

Ask any player for the Bears too and they will point …

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Bears beat Golden Eagles in SE Classic

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EVENSVILLE — Studying Bradley Central’s offense, it doesn’t take long to see an area of play Damon Floyd’s team is stacked at.

Ask any player for the Bears too and they will point straight to the wide receiver corps.

While it is never easy to replace a program’s record-setting quarterback, the job on junior Dylan Standifer’s shoulders this year should be a little bit easier to bear.

“The experience Dylan got last year was huge,” Floyd said of Standifer, who was 41-of-57 for 497 passing yards to go with five touchdowns and four interceptions last season when filling in at quarterback. “Let’s be honest, he’s got some talent around him so he doesn’t have to win the game himself.

“Any young quarterback will go through growing pains, but we want him to play without fear. We just want him and all our guys to go out there and have fun.”

Bradley Central concluded a sharp preseason of performances with a 13-6 win (2 quarters) over host Rhea County and it didn’t take long for the air attack to leave its mark at the Southeast Kickoff Classic Jamboree Friday night.

An all-state wide receiver knows when he has an advantage during a matchup, especially when Lameric Tucker sees an opposing defensive back playing him two yards off the line of scrimmage.

With little hesitation, the Bears audibled to four verticals on the first offensive play for either side, and Tucker put his 4.43 40-time on show for all.

The college prospect and 12th highest ranked receiver in the state by 247Sports streaked down the sideline in a blur for a 75-yard touchdown catch deep down the left sideline with 11:22 still left in the first quarter.

Expected to be Region 2-6A’s top playmakers after a junior campaign of 94 catches for 1,459 yards and 16 total touchdowns, Tucker was 15 yards downfield from the Golden Eagles corner back.

“If they are going to get in his face, we are going to give him a shot every time,” Floyd said. “Dylan did a good job at the line recognizing and checking to the deep ball. The offensive line did a great job too giving him and Lameric the time to make the play happen.”

Play Tucker loosely or any other of Bradley’s top receivers and a defense can still expect problems from these strong route-runners, even if Cole Copeland has moved to higher ranks at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Freshman 6-foot-3 wide receiver Tray Curry capped off the victory with a 26-yard end around touchdown run down the left sideline with 2:53 left in the second quarter.

Curry’s athleticism at 13-years old already is considered ready to make major contributions in meaningful games.

“We feel good with probably our first eight receivers,” Floyd said. “Tray obviously adds a lot of depth there. We just have to find different ways of getting him the ball. We are going to throw it deep, short, screens and hand it to him. We just have to get the playmakers the ball.”

While both sides starting offense and defense only played one series apiece, the Bears came away with a 7-6 advantage with its first string on the field.

Not trying to risk any further injuries, as starting running back Adam Mullis and starting safety Jake Presley both sat out with minor injuries, Bradley’s head ball coach was pleased with the results.

“We told our guys coming in to tonight we were just going to play the ones just one series each,” Floyd said. “It just so happens the offense was out there for one play and the defense is out there for an 11-minute drive. We have to learn how to get off the field on third-and-long. Overall, it was still a good night.”

Bradley will start even more film study on the defending Class 5A state champion in Farragut, who they will kickoff the season against at home with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff scheduled.

“We have been preparing for Farragut already,” Floyd said. “The coaches will come in Sunday and get our game plan together and finalize it. They are the defending state champs and we have all the respect in the world for them.”

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