CLEVELAND, Tenn. - It's still great football weather, but a snowball may be building at Bradley Central after the Bears lost 28-8 to McMinn County on Friday night.
It was the Bears' third straight District 5-AAA defeat, but they had lost by only two at Ooltewah and then by one to Cleveland.
The Cherokees (3-5, 2-2) limited the Bears (4-4, 1-3) to 160 total yards, forced two interceptions and made a stop on fourth down.
"The bottom line is that we have to decide if we want to play or not," Bradley coach Damon Floyd said. "Right now it looks like we don't want to play. We just want the season over with."
McMinn County quarterback Corbin Powers scored three rushing touchdowns, rushed seven times for 77 yards and completed 8 of 30 passes for 74 yards. Running back D.J. Kimpson carried 18 times for 84 yards.
"The play-action was working and I could always keep it on the read-option," Powers said. "Everything was working -- all the plays we called."
The Cherokees' defense were up to the task of slowing the Bears' pass-happy attack. Trevor Crisp intercepted Brett Standifer in the second quarter and returned the ball 88 yards for a touchdown. He intercepted Cole Copeland in the fourth quarter.
"Our D-line did a great job and the linebackers were able to play the pass," Crisp said.
Until both teams had backups playing midway through the fourth quarter, the Bears had punted eight times while picking up seven first downs.
"I didn't do a very good job, and when your team doesn't come out ready to play, that's coaching and that's my fault," Floyd said. "My team did not respond to me, and we didn't show up tonight."
Powers scored his first touchdown from 2 yards out after he burst for 53 yards on the second play of the game. He scored again in the second quarter from 11 yards out by following the left side of his line.
Crisp stepped in front of Standifer's pass to the right sideline, then followed blockers down the sideline before weaving his way for the final 20 yards and a 20-0 lead with 2:05 to go before halftime.
Powers scored again on an 18-yard run around the left side and dove for the pylon in the fourth quarter. He added the conversion when his line pushed him in. Bradley scored on a 28-yard pass from Copeland to Swan Parker with 1:15 remaining.
"We didn't do everything right," McMinn coach Bo Cagle said. "We didn't score every time and didn't stop them every time."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.