Bulldogs fighting through injuries as they prepare for district opener


Ed Dudrick

Center Ethan Griffin prepares to snap against Fulton last week. Bearden is looking for its first win against Heritage.

All coaches and athletes dread early season injuries, and the Bearden football team is suffering from its fair share.

The Bulldogs entered their first week of district play banged up and sick, but nonetheless prepared for Friday night’s 7:30 kickoff at home against Heritage (TV: BBN Sports Online).

Players and coaches alike are refusing to allow health issues to slow them down in any way, pledging to push through the pain. The injuries have been especially tough on the defense, where the Bulldogs are now missing three starters – middle linebacker Griffin DeLong, defensive back Isaiah McDaniel, and outside linebacker Elijah Helton.

“We have some good players out that would help us a lot, but injuries are a part of the game,” Bearden senior offensive tackle Chandler Greer said.

Injuries are indeed prevalent in football, and players put themselves in a position to take them; that’s what they sign up for. However, teams usually aren’t pestered by sickness as much as the Bulldogs (0-2) have been.

“We have to overcome these difficulties because we know that on the field, no one is going to feel sorry for us,” Greer said.

Those injured aren’t just sitting around either; they continue workout and rehab as well as providing moral support to their teammates.

“The players have a next man up mentality going, and our injured guys are working hard to get back into shape as quick as possible,” Bearden defensive coordinator Brian Tanner said.

The Bulldogs also know that a win against the Mountaineers (0-1) will still leave them unbeaten in District 4-AAA, despite the two losses to open the season.

“I think we are the best 0-2 team around and motivated to grab a win Friday,” Greer said. “We’re ready to get back on track against a very tough district filled with very good teams.”

Bearden beat Heritage 42-6 on the road last year.

“We have had some good practices this week, and we are hoping we can carry it over to Friday night,” Coach Tanner said. “I’m sure these tough practices will pay off when it comes down to game time.”