Bears win dramatic Textile Bowl

Published 8:40 am Friday, November 17, 2023

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The Bears got it done. It was anything, but easy for the 10u Troup County Parks and Rec champions as they outlasted the Cardinals 41-39 in a dramatic Textile Bowl.

“I told the kids before the game to look around because they will never play with these same groups of kids again, so let’s go out on top and we did that,” Bears coach Rick Smith said. “We have really good kids and they are competitive. We have had the same core group for about two to three years now.

“I’m so fond of these kids that they feel like kin to me.”

The first quarter did little to indicate the offensive explosion that was to come as the Bears led 7-6 after the opening six minutes.

The Bears struck first in the second quarter to take a 14-6 lead, but Remon Thompson had a long touchdown run to cut the deficit to just one point (14-13).

Both offenses kept rolling as the Bears quickly expanded their lead back to seven points with a long touchdown run.

The Bears’ defense stepped up and made a big play on the ensuing Cardinals’ drive, forcing a fumble on a sack and recovering it in plus territory. 

Grady Kelton turned that into a touchdown and a 27-13 lead with two minutes to go in the first half.

That looked like it would be the halftime score until Thompson rumbled into the end zone as time expired to give the Cardinals some life heading into halftime as they cut the lead to just one score. 

The Cardinals struck first on the other side of the break, tying the game when Thompson hit Jamrius Harrison for a touchdown. 

Bentley Henderson proceeded to put the Bears back out in front with a touchdown run late in the third quarter. 

Thompson was the hero for the Cardinals once again, scoring a touchdown on the first play of the ensuing drive. The Cardinals did not convert the one-point attempt and trailed 34-33. 

“Our kids are not the biggest, but they play with a lot of heart and stopping that play was a perfect example of that,” Smith said. 

The Bears delivered the winning score when Andrew Tanner hit Kelton for a touchdown over the middle with 1:45 left in the game.

Miraculously, the Cardinals scored a touchdown with just 25 seconds on the clock when Thompson rumbled in for a touchdown, but the two-point conversion was no good.

“That no. 57 (Thompson) was a problem for us all night,” Smith said. “He is a tall kid and fast and he was tough to bring down.”