CLEVELAND — Bearden overcame adversity once at Bradley Central Friday night, blocking a punt and recovering in the end zone moments after failing to score after having first-and-goal inside the BCHS 1 yard-line.
A second failed scoring attempt inside the Bears 10 in the second half, ending with an interception, plus a pair of huge fourth-quarter penalties — and a balanced Bradley offensive attack taking its toll late — added up to a 35-20 Bears win Sept. 11.
“A lot of improvement from last week to this week, but we’ve still got to overcome our own shortfalls, our own missed opportunities,” said Bearden head coach Morgan Shinlever, whose team fell to 0-2 (40-7 loss at Dobyns-Bennett the previous week).
Junior Griffen Oros blocked a Bradley punt that began with a high snap, and teammate Jack Adams pounced on the ball in the Bears end zone to tie the game 7-7 in the second quarter.
Though giving up a 5-yard screen pass touchdown to Bears star running back Javin Burke, which came on the game’s first series, ‘‘In the first half our defense played really, really well,” Shinlever said. “Our defensive unit put us in position to win the ballgame.”
Tied 7-7 at the break, it only took two plays to double the score in less than a minute to begin the second half.
Makai Williams, Bulldogs explosive senior running back, got loose down the right sideline on a 68-yard scoring run, on the first BHS play from scrimmage, to give Bearden a brief 14-7 lead.
On the first Bradley play from scrimmage following the kickoff, Burke went up the middle, then cut right and scampered 61 yards to tie the game 14-14.
The passing combo of Bears quarterback Aiden McCleary and receiver Kannon Hall, along with BCHS running back Riley Harmon matching Burke in running effectiveness in the second half, allowed Bradley’s offense to take control down the stretch.
Oros also had a huge 25-yard pass reception from Bearden sophomore quarterback John Carlevato, as the Bulldogs eventually would cut the Bradley lead to 21-20. But the extra point was missed.
After a 15-yard late-hit penalty helped fuel a Bears insurance touchdown early in the fourth quarter, a Williams 30-yard run around the left side was nullified by a holding penalty.
The home team (3-1) took control from that point.