Monday, September 27, 2010

SPORTS >> ’Dogs, backs batter Bears

IN SHORT: White Hall gets strong effort from rushers while Sylvan Hills can’t capitalize on late scoring chance.

By Todd Traub
Leader sports editor

White Hall may have been short one running back, but the Bulldogs still had a few too many for Sylvan Hills.

A strong rushing effort led White Hall to a 28-13 victory over Sylvan Hills in the 5A-Southeast Conference opener at Bill Blackwood Field on Friday.

White Hall lost A.J. Richardson, who gained over 200 yards last week but injured an Achilles tendon after two carries Friday.

But Nathan Lee and company filled in. Lee rushed for 178 yards and three touchdowns and Tim Cook came on late with a 70-yard touchdown run that put it on ice with 3:33 left.

“The guys we’ve been playing are well coached and this bunch is well coached,” White Hall coach Mike Vaughn said of Sylvan Hills. “But tonight we played hard. You know how it is in high school football, if you play hard you’ve got a chance and I’m hoping we figured it out.”

In all, White Hall used nine ball carriers while Sylvan Hills was still reeling from the loss of star lineman and team captain Alex Smith to injury earlier in the week.

“If we can just keep banging away maybe we’ll get some breaks,” Bears coach Jim Withrow said. “I was proud of our effort, I thought we played a lot harder this week than we did last week.”

The Bears (1-3, 0-1) still had a chance when Nate Clark returned a punt to the White Hall 38 with the Bulldogs leading 21-13 with 8:53 to go in the game.

The Bears drove to the Bulldogs 6 but on fourth and three Michael Maddox’s pitch was behind Clark and Sylvan Hills turned it over on downs. White Hall (1-3, 1-0) took over on its 12 and five plays later Cook cut through the right side for his 70-yard scoring run.

“Give them credit, they lose their best player and they keep banging away,” Withrow said. “And they do a good job. But that’s part of it. We’re kind of short lineman-wise but we had a chance to win.”

White Hall led 14-7 at halftime scored on its first possession of the third quarter when Lee ran in from the 2.

Clark kept the Bears in it when he scooped up a fumble and raced 44 yards for the score with 6:58 left in the third quarter, but Kevin Wang kicked his extra point try into the line and that was it for Sylvan Hills’ scoring.

“We’ve got to find something with our kicking game,” Withrow said.

A late drive to the White Hall 3 was turned back on penalties and incompletions and the Bulldogs took over with 40.9 seconds left and ran out the clock.

“We’re going to go back to work tonight and get ready for Mills and so if we can’t go beat Mills,” Withrow said of the conference race. “It’s only 0-1.”

Lee dropped a punt but recovered to start White Hall’s first possession of the game at its 3. But Lee atoned with six carries for 78 yards on the drive and he scored when he picked his way to the sideline and completed a 27-yard run for the 7-0 lead with 6:58 left in the first quarter.