Bradley Holds Off Science Hill For 41-34 Playoff Win

Bears Survive, Advance In 6A With 27-Point Second Half

Friday, November 3, 2017 - by Larry Fleming
Bradley Central quarterback Dylan Stanidifer, shown in a game from earlier this season, was instrumental in leading the Bears to a 41-34 Class 6A playoff win over Science Hill Friday night at  Bear Stadium.  The talented junior threw for 139 yards and one touchdown, while adding 60 yards rushing with two TDs. Bradley next travels to Kingsport to face Dobyns-Bennett next Friday at 7 p.m.
Bradley Central quarterback Dylan Stanidifer, shown in a game from earlier this season, was instrumental in leading the Bears to a 41-34 Class 6A playoff win over Science Hill Friday night at Bear Stadium. The talented junior threw for 139 yards and one touchdown, while adding 60 yards rushing with two TDs. Bradley next travels to Kingsport to face Dobyns-Bennett next Friday at 7 p.m.
- photo by Dennis Norwood/File Photo

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Bradley Central didn’t want to add to bad numbers in its recent postseason past, so the Bears bore down in the fourth quarter and pulled out a 41-34 Class 6A playoff victory over visiting Science Hill at Bear Stadium before a rather small crowd.

This was the Bears’ eighth straight appearance in the postseason, but they had only won two of eight previous games. Beating the Hilltoppers for the fourth time in six meeting took care of any apprehension Bradley had about winning and advancing.

“We want a championship, but you can’t win a championship without starting off 1-0 in the second season,” said senior Lameric Tucker, who caught the Bears’ talented wide receiver who lived up to his billing as a big-time playmaker with seven catches for 171 yards.

The Bears (9-2) move on to the second round where they will travel to Kingsport to battle the Dobyns-Bennett Indians on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. The Indians easily cruised past the Owls, 30-7.

Bradley lost to Science Hill, 59-47, in a first-round shootout in 2014 and Friday’s showdown turned into a slugfest in the second half when the teams combined for 47 points.

Bradley coach Damon Floyd was ready to pull out all the stops in this one.

Bradley was nursing a 35-28 lead in the fourth quarter and faced a fourth-and-1 at the Hilltoppers’ 31. Quarterback Dylan Standifer, who threw for 139 yards and a TD and rushed for 60 and scored on runs of 1 and 5 yards, dropped back and hit Tucker down the right sideline and the Tennessee-Chattanooga commitment zigged and zagged into the end zone.

The TD celebration was cut short when the play was called back because Tucker was lined up off the line of scrimmage and that drew an illegal procedure penalty.

The Bears moved back to the 36 and this time Standifer was in punt formation. He took the snap and threw a rainbow pass down field toward the red zone. Tucker went up and beat a Science Hill defender for the ball and came down with it at the 6.

Running back Adam Mullis, who scored the Bears’ first TD on an 11-yard run, zipped into the end zone on the next play to give Bradley a 41-28 advantage with 6:52 left.

“It’s like this,” Floyd said, “it could be your last game and if we lose we’re going down swinging. We’re going to give it everything we’ve got and we’re going to give it to Lameric because we believe our kids are going to execute, and they did.”

Tucker is used to performing in clutch situations. He’s caught 66 passes for 1,379 yards with 11 touchdowns. He averages 125.4 receiving yards per game and his 90 points leads the Bears in that category as well.

“That was a great call by coach Floyd,” Tucker said. “I messed on the play before and got a touchdown called back. Coach wanted to get me another chance and he told me to go up and make a play, so I did. Coach believes in me and I believe in my coach.”

Standifer, who has thrown for 2,712 yards and 25 touchdowns with a 69.4 percentage rate, said his role in the huge fourth-down play was not difficult.

“When you have Lameric you have an option that’s always good,” Standifer said. “I just had to throw the ball up there and let him go get it. That’s real simple for me. I had the easy job.”

The game was tied at 14-14 after two quarters.

Bradley got the second-half kickoff and quickly marched down the field. Standifer hit Tucker for a 33-yard gainer and officials tacked on 5 yards with a facemask penalty – the teams combined for a whopping 21 penalties and 233 yards.

Mullis, Standifer and Tucker took care of the final 28 yards with the quarterback scoring from the 1 to give the Bears a 21-14 lead.

Mullis finished with 171 yards rushing on 25 carries.

“He’s tough as nails,” Floyd said of Mullis, the team’s leading rusher with 773 yards on 129 attempts. “The offensive line and Mullis won this game tonight. That’s the bottom line. Adam wanted to prove something last week (against Maryville) and I took him out too early. I’m glad he had the night he had tonight.

“He’s been an animal here for three years  and he’s as tough as they come. I’m proud of his effort.”

Sixteen seconds after Standifer’s short TD run, the Hilltoppers had tied the game at 21-all on T.J. Patton’s 92-yard kickoff return. Science Hill’s Josh Kota intercepted a Standifer pass over the middle and returned it 17 yards to the Bears’ 8. Two plays later Chris Thomas scored from the 5 and Science Hill (7-4) went up 28-21.

Bradley hit the Hilltoppers with a 42-yard, five-play scoring drive capped by Standifer’s 5-yard TD burst. The drive took only 68 seconds and the two teams were deadlocked at 28-all.

As the game flipped into the fourth quarter, the Bears struck for the go-back with a 41-yard drive in nine plays with Standifer hitting Nick Howell on an 11-yard touchdown strike – he also scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter – for a 35-28 lead.

After Howell’s fourth-quarter score, Bradley’s Jay Person was flagged for the first of two unsportsmanlike penalties.

The Hilltoppers started their next drive at Bradley’s 47. They quickly moved to the Bears’ 23, but on the next play Jacob Abram was stopped for a 4-yard loss by Ashton Dunn and Abram fumbled. Bradley’s Jake Pressley recovered at the Bradley 20.

“I saw Ashton make the hit and he jumped on the ball,” Pressley said. “The ball came up and I got it. That was a big play.”

Bradley then drove 80 yards in seven plays with Mullis scoring to push the advantage to 41-28.

At last, the Bears had some breathing room.

Science Hill quarterback Jaylan Adams scored on a 4-yard run with 4:27 left to again put Bradley’s faithful followers on shaky ground.

Adams rushed for 99 yards on two touchdowns and went 9 for 15 with 39 yards and a TD. Drew Morrison, a 5-foot-10, 230-pound fireplug back who ran through several Bradley defenders without the slightest intention of trying to miss them, gained 72 yards on 11 carries.

“They’re an explosive team,” Floyd said, “and they’re scary to defend. They made a lot of plays, but that’s what playoff football is all about. You have to find ways to win and our kids did that. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we fought them tooth-and-nail, and that was important.”

Science Hill tried an onside kick after Adams’ last TD, but Bradley sophomore Tucker Still smothered the football at the Bears’ 49. With the Hilltoppers out of time outs, the Bears ran the final four minutes off the clock.

Person led the Bears with 8 ½ tackles, including half a sack and one tackle for loss. Damon Floyd, the coach’s son, was credited with five stops, Dunn had 4 ½ tackles and he forced fumble and Pressley had four tackles and the fumble recovery.

Arthur James paced the Hilltoppers’ defense with 9 ½ tackles, two for loss, Nick Copenhaver had eight and Kota 7 ½, plus the interception.

SCORING

Science Hill                          0 14 14 6 – 34

Bradley Central                   7 7 14 13 – 41

First Quarter

BC – Adam Mullis 11 run (Clay Shoemaker kick), 0:11

Second Quarter

SH – Jaylan Adams 29 run (Grant Wilson kick), 8:18

BC – Nick Howell 1 run (Shoemaker kick), 5:06

SH – Denzel Medina 4 pass from Adams (Wilson kick), 0:27

Third Quarter

BC – Dylan Standifer 1 run (Shoemaker kick), 9:27

SH – T.J. Patton 92 kickoff return (Wilson kick), 9:12

SH – Chris Thomas r run (Wilson kick), 6:54

BC – Standifer 5 run (Shoemaker kick), 5:36

Fourth Quarter

BC – Howell 11 pass from Standifer (Shoemaker kick), 11:00

BC – Mullis 6 run (pass failed), 6:42

SH – Adams 4 run (kick failed), 4:27

YARDSTICK

                                              SH                   BC

First Downs                           19                    22

Rushes-Yds                          40-226            47-260

Passing Yards                      39                    139

Comp-Att-Int                         9-16-0             9-14-1

Plys-Tot Yds                          56-265            61-399

Fumbles-Lost                        1-1                  0-0

Punts-Avg                              3-34.0             1-38.0

Penalties-Yds                        10-91              11-142

INDIVIDUALS

RUSHING – Science Hill: Jaylan Adams 14-99, Drew Morrison 11-72, Chris Thomas 13-56, Malik Bowman 1-3, Jacob Abram 1-minus 4; Bradley Central: Adam Mullis 25-171, Dylan Standifer 11-60, Lameric Tucker 7-31, Nick Howell 3-2, Team 1-minus 2.

PASSING – Science Hill: Adams 9-15-0-39; Bradley Central: Standifer 9-14-1-139.

RECEIVING – Science Hill: Morrison 2-13, T.J. Patton 1-13, Kendle Williams 3-6, Denzel Medina 1-4, Aundre Butler 1, Bowman 1-1; Bradley Central: Tucker 7-121, Howell 1-11, Stephen Muhonen 1-7.

(Contact Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com and on Twitter @larryfleming44)



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