BREMEN, Ga. -- Jamar Comar scored from 3 yards out with less than a minute remaining, then picked off a pass on the last play of the game to lead Kendrick to a 12-8 win over Bremen on Friday night.
John Hines hit Dover Coppins on an 80-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to pull Kendrick within 8-6.
The Cherokees (2-4, 2-2 Region 5-AA) are off next week, then play Chattahoochee County on Oct. 18 at Kinnett Stadium.
Ricky Tolleson preaches the fundamentals to his Bremen High School football team on a daily basis, but that isn't what the Blue Devil coach got Friday night in a 12-8 homecoming loss against Kendrick.
The Blue Devils (3-3, 2-2) picked up just eight first downs in the game, and only two in the second half, as the offense was never able to get going against a big, athletic Kendrick defense.
"Plain and simple, if you don't block and you don't tackle and you don't execute with the game on the line you aren't going to win. It was a very poor performance from us. Can't sugar coat it, they whipped [us]," Tolleson said.
After the first Bremen drive stalled they forced the Cherokees (2-4, 2-2) into a 3-and-out. On the ensuing punt Sean Stassie took the ball at the 45 and took it all the way down to the two-yard line setting up a very short field for the Blue Devil offense. Two plays later Cameron Porter was in the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run and Voltaire Driver took in the two-point try for the 8-0 lead.
Bremen seemed to have momentum as on the second play of Kendrick's next drive Zach Williams knocked the ball free and Dalton Owens picked it up. But the drive stalled at midfield and the Blue Devils were forced to punt for the second of six times in the ball game.
The punt was downed at the 19-yard line with just .2 seconds left in the first quarter, but the Cherokees made them count. Quarterback Jonathan Hines connected with Coppin Dover down the left sideline for an 81-yard touchdown pass. The two-point try failed and it was an 8-6 Bremen advantage after the first quarter.
For the next two quarters Bremen punted three times, fumbled once and had a pass intercepted at the end of the half. Kendrick's offense didn't fair much better punting twice and having passes intercepted by Stassie and Josh Johnson.
"We tried a little of everything. We're surely not a shotgun, spread team. We tried a little bit of everything we just didn't execute. That last series we had the ball all we had to do was get two first downs," Tolleson said.
The Blue Devils had one final chance to put the game away. Bremen stopped the Cherokees on a fourth down and got the ball back at their own 20-yard line with just over eight minutes left. The offense wasn't able to get a first down and punted the ball back to Kendrick. Not only did they have to give the ball back, after a night when Owens pinned Kendrick inside the 20 four times and inside the 10 twice, the final punt traveled just 8 yards giving the Cherokees a short field.
"We fought and battled, but if you don't do the fundamental things we harp on and work on all the time -- blocking, tackling and execution. That was about as poor an example of that as we've had in I can't remember. Obviously they have some running backs that are hard to tackle, but that was a poor performance," Tolleson said.
With good field position the Kendrick offense converted a third down try and a late fourth down try and scored the game-winning touchdown with one minute left.
Driver led the struggling Blue Devil offense with 89 yards on 24 carries while Trent McClure added 22 yards on seven rushes.
The Blue Devils don't have time to sulk from the loss as they have to fight for their playoff hopes every Friday the rest of the way. Next week they will host Spencer in the first of many must win games.
"We don't have time to sit around and wonder. This region is like that, it's full of athletes and we've got to wash our hands of it and correct our mistakes. Our kids will come back, they'll prepare hard and we'll have a plan," Tolleson said.
Records: Kendrick 2-4, 2-2 Region 5-AA; Bremen 3-3, 2-2. Next: Kendrick, vs Chattahoochee County, at Kinnett, Oct. 18, 7 p.m.