Saturday, December 1, 2007

Playoff Battle of Two Single-wing Teams

Bearden defense gets the job done

Posted on Saturday, December 1, 2007

BEARDEN — Bearden Coach Mike Cox has been bragging on his defense for the better part of the season.

The Bears’ defense wasn’t exactly boast-worthy Friday. Just effective.

Bearden (13-0 ) will get a chance to play for its first state title since 1959 after beating Earle 37-14 at Rogers Field.

Quarterback Dewayne Watts was Bearden’s leading rusher, carrying 11 times for 73 yards.

The Bears were alternately on top of and crossed up by Earle’s Single Wing offense, a tricky misdirection-based scheme that made use of a four-man backfield, fake handoffs and direct snaps.

Twice, the Bulldogs (9-2 ) barged inside Bearden’s 10-yard line in the first half after putting together long drives that had the Bears’ defense at times looking confused.

Twice, Bearden regrouped to halt Earle on fourth down, allowing the Bears to go into the half with a 16-6 lead.

“That’s why our defense is ranked first in the state in stats,” Bearden Coach Mike Cox said.

Through 12 games, Bearden had allowed an average of 124. 7 yards per game.

Bearden scored on its first two drives of the game, with Watts rushing four times for 55 yards en route to a 1-yard touchdown run by Carlos Chambers on the Bears’ first possession.

Chambers later broke through with another 1-yard scoring run near the end of the first quarter.

Earle, which answered Bearden’s first touchdown with a 2-yard touchdown run by Derrick Jarrett, seemed poised to tack on two more touchdowns before halftime.

Instead, the Bulldogs were turned away on fourth-and-5 at Bearden’s 4-yard line.

Earle got the ball back after Steven Meredith intercepted Watts, only to drive the ball to the Bearden 8 before being stood up again.

Earle did not carry a kicker on its roster and did not work on field goals during pregame warmups.

Getting a pair of first-half defensive stops turned out to be crucial, since Bearden’s offense stayed dormant for most of the second half.

Earle stacked the box in the third quarter, containing the Bears’ rushing trio of Watts, Chambers and Michael Belin.

Forced into third-and-long situations, Watts wasn’t as sharp throwing as he was running, and was held to 0-for-4 passing in the third quarter.

Bearden reclaimed its early momentum through an unlikely source, when defensive lineman Clay Vaughan picked off a wobbly pass from Meredith and returned the ball to the Earle 28.

Chambers then took a direct snap for a 28-yard touchdown run. Minutes later, the Bears put the game out of reach when Kasey Moore intercepted a pass and went 58 yards for another touchdown.

“We sputtered [offensively ],” Cox said. “But I think we wore them down a bit.”

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette


SWS Note:

Bearden runs the single-wing and spread

Earle runs single-wing

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