ATHENS, Tenn. — Occasionally, a pass may come Karter Howard's way.
Two of them did Friday night, with the 6-foot-4, 265-pound Bradley Central tight end hauling in one for 6 yards in the first half of the Bears' 44-28 nonregion win at McMinn County.
But Howard, as well as the rest of Bradley Central's big offensive line, know what the job is. Not much in the way of individual credit will come their way — most of that will be reserved for running back Jackson Wilson, who had another big game to extend his strong start to the season — but seeing the team's success as the Bears won their fourth consecutive road contest to start the season was enough for Howard.
"We've got a lot of experience up front," he said. "I think our guys understand that if we control the line up front, then we can control the ballgame. Jackson runs hard. We just go out there, and he makes us look really good."
Wilson had another huge performance, rushing for 231 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns in a game that was much more lopsided than the final score indicated. The Bears rushed for 313 yards, with Simon Mullis adding a 46-yard touchdown to make it 44-14 with four minutes to go.
The Bears start three seniors on the offensive line. Toss in Howard, who provides another big body to block, and the team was able to do to the Cherokees (1-3) the same thing it did to Brainerd, Cleveland and Walker Valley: control the line of scrimmage.
"There's no doubt our success has been our offensive line dominating," said Bradley Central coach Damon Floyd, whose next win will be the 100th of his career. "That's what we're going to lean on. Our defense has played well most of the games, we've just had these lapses to give up easy plays, which we can't do.
"But it was an overall good team win; I'm really proud of our team right now."
Aiden McClary threw two touchdown passes, one to Wilson and another to Taylor Duggan, and special teams chipped in with a Marcus Goree Jr. 90-yard kickoff return for a score to start the game and a blocked punt in the first quarter.
McMinn County quarterback Jayden Miller finished with 78 net rushing yards — he had 85 in the second half to escape his early deficit — and 138 through the air, tossing scoring passes of 47 yards to Noah Glen and 7 yards to Luke Hensley, who finished with 60 yards on eight catches. Miller also had a 16-yard touchdown run.