Berrien hosts struggling Bacon County Raiders

Gerald Thomas III | Special to the TimesBerrien quarterback Ja'Marquis Johnson (9) prepares to receive the snap at the line of scrimmage against Atkinson County on Aug. 30 in Nashville.

VALDOSTA –– Berrien's record-setting night last Friday night against Atkinson County provided a confidence boost for the 1-2A Rebels two weeks into the season.

A week after getting hammered by Irwin County 42-7, the Rebels scored early and often against the visiting Rebels in a 61-43 victory. 

The Rebels' 61 points were the most in school history. Running back Gerrick Johnson scored a school-record seven touchdowns, including a 92-yard kickoff return to open the game. He also ran for six scores.

“It was a good night, especially for our confidence, especially offensively. Defensively, to give up 43 points is never good, but definitely, offensively, we had a good game,” Berrien coach Tim Alligood said.

It was an exciting night for the Rebels, especially after being humbled by the Indians the week before.

“I think you saw the score they had with Fitzgerald Friday night, 35-8 and that goes to show you they're just a special football team. You're going to have games like that. We felt like in that game, we never really gave ourselves a chance,” Alligood said. “This last game we had zero turnovers on offense, so we didn't hurt ourselves and that was a challenge to the kids all week long. Lets don't hurt ourselves, good things will happen and that's what happened.”

Johnson ran for 142 yards, as the split-back veer offense clicked on all cylinders against Atkinson.

“Kids are starting to get comfortable with it. It's not perfect, coach (Ed) Pilcher is a stickler, he's seen it run at a very high level with some of the teams he's had. His standard is very high,” Alligood said. “We're getting there, but we've still got a lot of work to do. But the kids are responding very well and progressing. We've just got to keep moving in the direction we're moving.

“The main thing is taking it one day at a time and approach every day the same, not trying to look to far ahead. Just try to attack every day and get better every day. Like we told them (Monday) at practice, Friday night is over with. We had a good game and did some good things but it's time to flush it and move on. Hopefully, our 100 percent focus is on Bacon County,” Alligood added.

The Raiders are 0-2 and have struggled to score and stop opponents from finding the end zone. In two losses against Fitzgerald and Pierce County, Bacon County was outscored 96-3. Alligood is not fazed by their early struggles, however.

“They have an athletic kid back there at quarterback that can run and throw it,” Alligood said. “Scheme-wise, they've got a solid scheme and are coached up well. Same thing on the defensive side of the ball.

“They've got some good coaches over there and we've got to be ready to play a good football game Friday night.”

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