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312 yards, 3 TDs and Coach Couch

POSTED: September 6, 2017 8:19 a.m.

First, kudos to Kevin Harris and his Bradwell Institute teammates.

Harris, a junior, ran for 312 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers’ 23-20 win over Southeast Bulloch on Friday night.
Whether that’s a single-game record or not, nobody seems to know at the moment.
I certainly don’t. But if it isn’t, it’s got to be up there somewhere close.

Also, Sunday’s paper said 294 yards, not 312. That’s because those were the initial stats we got Friday night from Bradwell Institute assistant coach Joseph Smiley, a BI institution. The extra yardage was apparently tacked on after BI coaches got a chance to look at film.

In the meantime, here’s what BI head football coach Ross Couch, who won a couple Georgia Press Association Awards back when he was sports editor of the Union Recorder in 2007, had to say about the Tigers’ win, which improves Bradwell to 2-0.
Since they pretty much cover all the bases, I’ll share them with you here:

On the team’s slow start against SEB on Friday:

“We didn’t have a very good week of practice last week, and it showed when we got to Friday night. Our guys came out flat and unfocused, and the mistakes they were making on the field showed that, especially on special teams. Once we got into a bit of a groove, we actually played pretty fast and physical, but the mental mistakes are going to catch up to us eventually. I’ve got to do a better job getting our guys mentally prepared every week.”

On Harris’ performance:

“A couple of high points for us last week were our defense, only giving up 120 yards of total offense and dominating for much of the game, and Kevin Harris’ performance. He rushed for 312 yards and 3 touchdowns. When you can be +200 on the yard differential, you’re probably going to have a good night. We’ve just go to play with better mental focus across the board.”

On the offense:

“We’re really looking for ways to become more balanced on offense. Coach Giddens has done a great job of taking what the opposing defenses have given us and getting the ball to our playmakers, but teams are going to start keying on Kevin, and we’ve got to have an answer for that. Desmond Dawkins did a good job running on the perimeter for us last week, and O’Brien Nobles had another big catch for us, and we’ve got to be able to throw the ball and get the ball on the perimeter as the year progresses. We are still going to prioritize our inside run game, but we’ve got to make opposing teams defend the whole field.”

On the defense:

“Defensively, we’ve played back to back games where our effort, for the most part, was outstanding, and coach Eldridge has done a great job having our guys prepared for what the other teams were going to do. Take away one series in each half of the SEB game, and we are being physical, we are playing fast and we are flying to the football. We’ve still got technique and alignment issues we’re working to clean up, but if you have great effort and great pursuit, players are going to make plays.”

On special teams:

“I’ve gotta get our special teams playing better this week. Against Liberty we had snap problems and alignment problems, and last week we had a host of issues pop up, from snaps, to picking up pressure to kick coverage. Most of those issues were mental, which tells me I didn’t work the small details enough. We’re going back to the basics this week and really work the fundamentals. The guys are playing hard and with great effort; I’ve just got to coach them up better.”

On the next opponent, Warren County:

“Warren County is a very fast, athletic team, and coach Freeman will have them ready to play. He brought those guys in here last year, punched the Tigers in the mouth early, and Warren came away with a win. Our main goal this week is to be ready to punch back from the first snap, and I think our guys think they have something to prove this week, after losing to them last year.”

On Hurricane Irma:
“I don’t think the weather is going to be a big factor for us for this game, but Hurricane Irma is still sitting out there just churning away. It looks like if it gets to us, it’ll be the early part of next week. We are all just hoping it will take an early turn north and work its way on into the Atlantic, not affecting anybody. We don’t want another situation like last year with teams playing 2 and 3 games in a week to 10-day period. There’s not a whole lot of fun in that.”

Couch is right. No fun in that at all. Let’s all hope Irma takes a hard right and heads out to a middle of Atlantic nowhere.
Update: We’re making progress on finding some youngsters to help improve our sports coverage, but we can always use more help. Email me at jwhitten@coastalcourier.com for more info.

Note: The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame will honor the real Adrian Peterson on Saturday at Georgia Southern’s home opener against New Hampshire. Nobody is more deserving than AP, who remains the best college running back I’ve ever seen play in person. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.

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