Bulldogs find their footing, run past Hurricanes, 28-25

Bearden rushed for 344 yards and held off Morristown East to win its home opener 28-25 on Friday night. Senior Josh Haney had touchdown runs of 37 and 40 yards in the second quarter, and junior Christian Robinson added what proved to be the decisive 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth. “We have some good running backs,” Bearden head coach Brad Taylor said. “If we compete, we look a lot better than we did last week.” The Bulldogs (1-1) lost their season opener 32-0 last week to Hardin Valley, a game in which they struggled to produce anything on the ground. “We knew we could run the ball,” Coach Taylor said. “Josh ran the ball well and Christian ran the ball well. We just competed.” Trailing 28-18, the Hurricanes (0-2) narrowed Bearden’s lead in the fourth quarter on Chase Brunson’s second rushing touchdown of the night, but a combination of missed extra points and a failed two point conversion gave the Bulldogs the edge on the scoreboard. Bearden quarterback Nicky Frizen, in the second start of his career, was perfect on the night, completing all seven of his passes for 69 yards. “He just took care of the football,” Bearden quarterbacks coach Andre Caballero said. “He helped manage the game for us.” Frizen added a 4-yard touchdown scramble in the first quarter to give Bearden a 7-6 lead. “It feels great,” Frizen said. “We worked hard for this.” The Bulldogs were able to put a disappointing season opening loss behind them, which Coach Taylor thinks is because of the confidence the young Bulldogs have. “They knew that they could [win],” Coach Taylor said. “They knew that we are better than the product that we put on the field last week.” The win didn’t come easy, though, with the Bulldogs conceding the first touchdown of the game, and two more in the first half. Only ahead 21-18 at the break, the Bulldog defense rallied behind senior linebacker Will Burns, who led the team with 7 tackles. The Hurricanes had 354 yards of total offense, but turned the ball over three times, including an interception by Robinson and two fumbles recovered by Tyler White and Kole Matherly. Jonmichael Samsel had two touchdown receptions for the Hurricanes. The Bulldogs will look to carry their momentum into next week when they travel to face William Blount (1-1). The Governors are coming off of a 9-0 win over Central. “We have to play William Blount next week,” Robinson said, “but I think we’ll be ready for them.”