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March 28, 2014

UR ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Senior carries Braves offense

MILLEDGEVILLE — In a sport known for its low scoring games, it is unusual for a soccer player to earn more than one goal in a single contest.

That is precisely what makes Baldwin High’s James Bell’s performances last week against Howard and Greene County so impressive, as the senior posted eight goals between the two games.

Bell pulled off a hat trick three goals against the Braves’ region opponent Howard, and followed it up with five scores against Greene County later in the week.

“It was definitely a memorable experience for sure,” Bell said. “It was a good morale experience for our team, not just for me.”

Head coach Clayton McClendon admits the senior receives help from his teammates at times, but a lot of the time makes plays in situations where the probability of a goal is slim to none.

“His performance last week was just outstanding,” McClendon said. “A lot of times we have to depend on J.B. to beat defenders and put the ball in position to put it in the back of the net.”

The prep star uses his team as motivation, and stops at nothing to give his teammates an edge.

“I definitely think it takes a strong mindset of knowing I have to get down the field and score, no matter what the cost,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s just a brute mentality of ‘I’ve got to get down there and score those goals.’”

For BHS this season, Bell is the offense and gives the Braves an advantage in most contests.

“He gives you confidence no matter who we’re playing, that we’re going to have a chance to win,” McClendon said. “It doesn’t matter what the record is for the other team, we have a chance to win with him on the team.”

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