STERLING CITY — The Garden City Bearkats posted a 3-7 record during the regular season, but found a way into the playoffs.
Despite being at their healthiest in some time, the Bearkats — who won back-to-back state championships in 2009 and 2010 — were outmatched by the undefeated Water Valley Wildcats on Thursday, losing their postseason opener by mercy rule, 64-18.
Garden City did score on its opening drive when spreadback Austin Odom connected with Shawn Walker for a 42-yard touchdown pass. Corbin Davis added a touchdown of his own on a pass from Odom later in the first stanza, but Water Valley's relentless offense proved too much for the Bearkats. Chapman Royall found the end zone in the third quarter after a five-yard rush, but that was as much of a rally as the young Garden City squad could muster.
While first year Garden City Head Coach Matt Odom wishes the game had ended differently, he acknowledged the effort from his squad.
“We came out ready to play,” Odom said. “We went out there and got after them. We went down and scored on our first offensive possession, but it was the story of our year — we shoot ourselves in the foot — the turnovers, the mistakes; our kids have a hard time recovering from them and when mistakes multiply in six-man football, you can get down in a hurry.”
Odom's Bearkats experienced some turmoil this season. Between a brutal predistrict schedule and injuries to key players, their win-loss record likely doesn't reflect the valuable experienced gained along the way.
“If we were healthy all year, we may have had three or four more wins,” Odom said. “But, you are dealt the hand you are dealt and you have to win with what you have.”
Odom was especially appreciative of his graduating class of athletes.
“The biggest thing I want to get across is how much we appreciate our seniors,” Odom added. “I knew it was going to be tough when I took this job — I had to win them over — and I appreciate their effort and willingness to listen to me. They set a good example for the younger kids. I see us as having a successful year next year.”