Injury-plagued Bulldogs cannot stop KDB power

KNOXVILLE — It would be hard enough for Bearden, or any Region 1-6A team, to slow down Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett’s power running game with a mostly healthy defense.

However, “We’re down eight starters and four back-ups to those starters,” including four-year starting quarterback Collin Ironside (ankle injury), BHS head coach Morgan Shinlever said, as the visiting Indians pulled away in the fourth quarter to win 39-14 at BHS’s Bill Young Field to stay perfect at 3-0.

Bearden falls to 0-3.

“We’re down our top three linebackers ... two offensive and defensive linemen ... a tight end ... and down a starting safety.

“They wore us down,” Shinlever added. “But that’s not an excuse.”

Down 17-0 at halftime, the Dawgs responded. Freshman QB John Carlevato found senior receiver Kenneth Parker-Smith for two big plays.

“He’s very explosive ... changes directions really well,” the coach said about Parker-Smith. His 31-yard grab set up Seth Arana’s 2-yard TD run midway through the third quarter.

Arana “played really hard,” Shinlever said, adding that on defense the sophomore “played a position that he hasn’t (played) a whole lot in practice, linebacker.”

Backed up to its own 9, Bearden hit it big when Carlevato found Parker-Smith deep down the middle.

The senior raced the final 65 yards for 91-yard scoring pass early in the fourth quarter. It was 26-14.

Carlevato “has a big arm, and he was able to made some really nice throws,” Shinlever said.

About two-way senior lineman Gavin Campbell, the coach said, “I was really proud of how he played.”

Senior two-way lineman Micah Haun “played all night.”

Senior wide receiver/safety Hayden Candela “doesn’t get enough credit for what he does; plays on both sides of the ball. Never comes off the field,” Shinlever said.

Senior Connor Cross converted both of his extra point tries.