CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Almost 100 years ago, Bradley Central played its first high school football game.
On Friday, the Bears played game No. 1,000.
They won both.
In 1916, the Bears, coached by J.F. Condry, launched their football program with a 43-16 victory over Tyner High. After a three-game career, Condry turned the reins over to Jimmie Lovell, who coached 21 years from 1917-38 – there were no games in 1918 due to World War 1 – and posted a 124-70-15 record.
On Friday at Bear Stadium, the Bears thumped visiting Soddy-Daisy, 37-6, on the strength of a 21-point second-quarter and a strong performance from quarterback Brett Standifer, who transferred from Soddy-Daisy to Bradley Central last December.
Bradley (5-4, 2-3) ends the regular season next week at East Hamilton (7-2, 4-1) and the game has district championship and playoff implications.
Soddy-Daisy fell to 3-6 overall and 0-5 in league play.
Standifer completed 11 of 18 passes for 176 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. He connected with Dee Crisp on scoring tosses covering 18 and 42 yards. Standifer also found Christian Hamilton for a 26-yard touchdown toss for the game’s first score.
Standifer rushed nine times for 40 yards before heading to the sidelines in the third quarter as the Bears turned the game over to reserves. For the game, Standifer had 216 yards of total offense while the Bears amassed 401 yards, including 210 on the ground.
Logan Fetzner led the Bears’ ground attack with 12 carries for 103 yards and a 19-yard touchdown jaunt.
The Bears’ other score came on Baylor Terrell’s 3-yard run.
While the Trojans’ offense was shut down, the defense came up with their only touchdown. Jacob Lemons intercepted a Cole Copeland pass at the Soddy-Daisy 15 and returned it 85 yards for the touchdown.
The Trojans 135 yards of total offense, just 2 on the ground.
Going back in history, Lovell coached the Bears to a 92-6 win over Loudon in 1925 at the old school site on Highway 11, a few miles from the current campus, and that’s the largest margin of victory in Bradley history.
In 1966, rival McMinn County shelled the Bears, 71-7, and the Bears would lose to McMinn Central the following week to finish 2-8.
Bradley went from 1964-68 – the Bears won a mythical state title in 1961 with Steve Sloan at quarterback – without a winning season before Terry Sweeney turned the tide of losing into a 6-5 record in 1969.
Seven years later Bradley beat Jackson Central-Merry, 50-48, in a three-overtime classic at Middle Tennessee State University for the school’s second state championship. The Bears went 13-0 that season.
Coach Damon Floyd, whose final game as a Bear player was a 65-64 seven-overtime playoff loss to Farragut in 1995, on Friday guided the Bears to a 36-7 victory over Soddy-Daisy on Friday for the school’s 565th win against 407 losses and 28 ties.
Under Floyd, who was named head coach in 2006, the Bears are seeking their fourth straight playoff appearance. However, only once in the last three years has Bradley advanced to the second round, that coming in 2010 after it beat Coffee County, 34-7, before losing to Oak Ridge, 28-26.
Soddy-Daisy 0 0 0 7 – 7
Bradley Central 8 21 7 0 – 36
BC – Christian Hamilton 26 pass from Brett Standifer (Logan Fetzner pass from Standifer), 9:36
BC – Dee Crisp 18 pass from Standifer (Clayton Steels kick), 11:07
BC – Crisp 42 pass from Standifer (Steels kick), 8:40
BC – Fetzner 19 run (Steels kick), 3:22
BC – Baylor Terrell 3 run (Steels kick), 7:24
SD – Jacob Lemons 85 interception return (Christian Dean kick), 6:01
(E-mail Larry Fleming at email@example.com)