Bulldogs hold their own, fall to Rebels, 21-3

Bearden fought, battled, and held on for as long as they could. But in the end, Maryville proved why they haven’t lost in 35 games. The Rebels’ rushing attack wore down the Bulldogs in the second half, giving Maryville a 21-3 win that ended Bearden’s undefeated start to the season. The Bulldog offense was more productive than the score would indicate, but they found themselves unable to convert in Maryville territory throughout the game. “You’ve got to come up with points,” senior quarterback Nicky Frizen said. “We knew we could run it on them, we controlled the line of scrimmage all night, and we threw the ball well, but once we got in that red zone, we kind of stalled.” Bearden (5-1, 2-1 District 4-AAA) got off to an early lead, forcing a Shawn Prevo fumble on the Rebels’ first drive. The Bulldogs ended their first drive with a Graham Rooke field goal, and the 3-0 score would last until late in the second quarter. The Rebels (6-0, 3-0) took the lead on a Trenton Shuler touchdown run and went into the half up 7-3 despite being outplayed by the Bulldogs for the first 24 minutes. Even though the Bearden offense moved the ball in the second half, they were never able to get any more points on the board. “We’ve got some guys who can play, and we’re confident in them,” Frizen said, “and we play teams like this and we know we can compete with them. There’s just got to be execution.” Despite the loss, the Bearden defense takes some pride in keeping the defending state champions scoreless for most of the first half. “Our team played their tail ends off the whole game,” Coach Brad Taylor said. “They bought in, they did everything we asked of them, they eliminated mental mistakes, they eliminated selfishness, and they competed.” Because the game is the first loss for the Bulldogs this season, they are trying to turn the disappointment into motivation for the games to come. “We do know that we can play, and we do know that we are a good football team, and when we’re all together, we are very tough to compete with,” Coach Taylor said. “I think in a way [the loss] hurts, but in a way also, it gives us a little confidence.” Bearden is hoping to channel this confidence for next week’s game at Farragut (3-3, 2-1). The Bulldogs were hoping to break their losing streak against the Rebels, but they want to break their 10-game regular season losing streak against the Admirals even more. “We were hoping to get this one tonight, but Farragut’s a little bit more personal for us, so we’re really excited about the opportunity,” Frizen said. Dawson Halliday and Torey Works led the last Bearden team that beat Farragut, a 28-14 win in 2007 that sent the Bulldogs to the state semifinals for the first and only time. The Bulldogs believe that after putting up a fight against Maryville, they can compete against anyone, especially Farragut. “Once you play the best, it can’t get any worse than that,” senior Zack Messing said. “So hopefully we’ll be just as strong as we were this week, no letdown, and we’ll play just as good.” Aidan Sears is the sports editor for The Bark. Follow The Bark on Twitter @BeardenBARK, and like The Bark (Bearden High School) on Facebook.