Bradley Central’s Bears didn’t mind a three-hour trip home from Kingsport, Tennessee, on Friday night.
Not at all.
Junior quarterback Dylan Standifer threw two touchdown passes to Nick Howell in the game’s final 3:51 to power a 20-point fourth quarter rally in Bradley Central's 33-27 victory over Dobyns-Bennett in the second round of the TSSAA Class 6A state football playoffs.
Bradley (10-2) trailed 20-13 going into the final period, but Howell, a running back, hooked up with Stephen Muhonen on a 26-yard touchdown play, slicing the Indians lead to one point at the 11:51 mark.
Dobyns-Bennett (8-4) rebounded with a 3-yard Keo Taylor touchdown run and the Indians stretched the lead to 27-19.
Standifer, who was 12 for 19 for 242 yards, then went to work. He found Howell loose for a 22-yard touchdown with 3:51 remaining and then they collaborated again less than two minutes later on a 26-yard TD. The play resulted in the Bears’ winning six-point margin.
With the victory Bradley advanced to the quarterfinals at powerhouse Maryville at 7 p.m. Maryville routed Farragut, 38-6.
The Rebels defeated the Bears, 31-7, in the regular-season finale two weeks ago.
The Bears-Rebels series is tied 6-6-2, but Maryville has won five in a row.
The Bears have won 10 of their last 11 games and won three straight from the Indians. Prior to Bradley’s three-game win streak, Dobyns-Bennett went 11-0-1 in the series dating to 1932.
Standifer scored on a 1-yard run for the Bears’ lone first-half touchdown.
Ian Hicks scampered into the end zone on a 2-yard run to kick off the game’s first TD. Quarterback Lendon Redwine threw two touchdown passes for Matt Diminick covering 43 and 55 yards, giving the Indians a 13-point halftime lead.
Adam Mullis, who had a 2-yard TD run in the second quarter, was Bradley’s leading rusher with 51 yards on 16 carries.
As usual, Lameric Tucker led all receivers with 138 yards on six receptions.
Hicks rushed 24 times for a game-high 130 yards, an average of 5.4 yards per carry. Diminick finished with 108 receiving yards on just three catches.
Hayden Owenby paced Bradley’s defense with 6 ½ tackles. Jay Person had six tackles with one forced fumble and one pass breakup. Jordan McIllwain and Jake Pressley each had 5 ½ stops.
Bradley Central 0 7 6 20 – 33
Dobyns-Bennett 7 13 0 7 – 27
DB – Ian Hicks 2 run (Drew Miller kick), 3:35
DB – Matt Miminick 43 pass from Lendon Redwine (Miller kick), 11:15
BC – Dylan Standifer 1 run (Clay Shoemaker kick), 8:42
DB – Miminick 55 pass from Redwine (kick failed)
BC – Adam Mullis 2 run (Clay Shoemaker kick), 8:30
BC – Stephen Muhonen 26 pass from Nick Howell (run failed), 11:51
DB – Keyo Taylor 3 run (Miller kick), 8:13
BC – Nick Howell 22 pass from Standifer (pass failed), 3:51
BC – Howell 26 pass from Standifer (Kevin Gentry pass from Standifer), 2:12
First Downs 17 15
Rushes-Yards 33-75 36-171
Yards Passing 268 171
Comp-Att-Int 13-20-0 12-20-0
Plays-Tot Yds 53-343 56-342
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-0
Penalties-Yds 2-10 3-32
RUSHING – Bradley Central: Adam Mullis 16-51, Dylan Standifer 10-27, Lameric Tucker 3-4, Nick Howell 1-2, Team 3-minus 9; Dobyns-Bennett: Ian Hicks 24-130, Nic Bristol 3-34, Dee Williams 1-6, Keo Taylor 4-6, Lendon Redwine 4-minus 5.
PASSING – Bradley Central: Standifer 12-19-0-242, Howell 1-1-0-26; Dobyns-Bennett: Redwine 12-20-0-171.
RECEIVING – Bradley Central: Tucker 6-138, Howell 5-86, Muhonen 2-44; Dobyns-Bennett: Diminick 3-108, Caleb Whetsell 2-13, Williams 2-11, Hicks 1-11, Bristol 2-9, Nathan Harding 1-5.
(Contact Larry Fleming at email@example.com and on Twitter @larryfleming44)