Bearden bounced back from a close loss to rival Farragut with a 41-13 win over region foe Morristown West on Friday, edging closer to securing a spot in the Class 6A playoffs.
The Bulldogs held on to a 14-13 at halftime, but Bearden dominated the second half and ran away with a blowout win thanks to an explosive offensive and strong defensive performance.
Ja’Quan Williams rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Collin Ironside passed for 144 yards and two touchdowns, adding 47 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Freshman quarterback John Carlevato also added an 8-yard touchdown run.
Senior wide receiver duo Hayden Candela and James Adkins accounted for 106 combined yards and a touchdown catch each. Seth Arana also added 38 reception yards.
Ironside is now Bearden’s all-time leader in career completions (556), passing yards (6,681), and passing touchdowns (55). Candela is now Bearden’s single-season leader in receptions (56), yards receiving (710), and also has eight touchdown catches, one short of tying the single-season record.
On defense, the Bulldogs held the Trojans to only 44 passing yards and 12 first downs, shutting Morristown West out in the second half. Christian Spining led the way with 19 tackles, and Ty Seritt added 4 tackles-for-loss. Safety Reed Frederick accounted for seven tackles and a blocked punt.
Spining, a standout junior, leads the team with 102 tackles despite playing in only six games due to an injury earlier this season. He is up for WBIR Defensive Player of the Week.
Bearden (3-6, 3-2 Region 1-6A) has won three of its past four games. The Bulldogs travel to Science Hill (4-5, 4-1 Region 1) to play the Hilltoppers in the regular season finale on Friday in a game that holds important playoff implications.
Science Hill is fresh off a huge upset, having given Dobyns-Bennett its first loss last week, meaning the Hilltoppers would clinch the region title with a win on Friday.
Bearden could finish anywhere from second to fifth in the region depending on Friday night’s results. In order for Bearden to finish second, the Bulldogs have to beat Science Hill, and Jefferson County has to beat Farragut. In that case, the Bulldogs will then jump to second place in the region and host their first playoff game since 2015.
The only scenario that would keep Bearden out of the playoffs altogether is Science Hill, Jefferson County, and Hardin Valley all winning.
Here are the other possible playoff scenarios: