Wednesday, August 31, 2011

SPORTS >> Eagles blow up in first half, pound Sylvan Hills

Leader sportswriter

The second day of the 2011 Arkansas High School Football Classic quickly turned into a classic blowout in the early game as Vilonia clobbered Sylvan Hills 45-7 at War Memorial Stadium on Tuesday.

Senior running back Trey Bone broke the biggest run of the first half to give the Bears their only score when he got free at the line of scrimmage and darted 67 yards for a touchdown with 4:44 left in the first half. Vilonia defenders caught up with Bone at the Eagles 20, but he cut towards the middle of the field and back out to the left to freeze them. Sophomore kicker Philip Wood added the extra point to make it 27-7.

“That’s just a young football team,” Sylvan Hills coach Jim Withrow said. “When you play good teams, you can’t make mistakes. It’s a learning experience for us, you know, it’s not a conference game. But we’ve got to get on track this coming week. We had I don’t know how many blown assignments in the first five plays of the game. If we clean that up, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bone was one bright spot in a Bears offense that found trouble in many forms, including penalties, turnovers and missed blocking assignments. He finished with a game-high 112 yards, almost half of Sylvan Hills’ 235 total yards.

“He did a great job,” Withrow said. “Trey’s had a hamstring pull; he’s not practiced for a week and a half. It’s exactly what we thought we would get with him. Once we decided to execute, we had some good moments. We’re going to keep banging away at it. We’ll get there.”

The Eagles wasted little time getting on the scoreboard on their first possession with a five-play, 41-yard drive that was set up with a shaky punt by Bears junior kicker Michael Neal. Neal had trouble getting the low snap, but still managed to punt the ball 20 yards while dodging oncoming Eagle defenders.

Senior running back James Sax and sophomore Houston Cotton each ran twice to push the ball into the red zone, setting up Drew Estes for a 20-yard touchdown run across the left side with 8:35 left in the first quarter. James Gardner added the extra point to put Vilonia up 7-0.

Sax finished with a team-high 93 yards for Vilonia while Estes had 76 yards. The Eagles had 276 total yards, all on the ground.

“The defense played great,” Vilonia coach Jim Stanley said. “Sylvan Hills is so fast. I was really concerned.”

Things started out promising for the Bears on their third possession when Bone picked up a first down with an 18-yard run up to the Sylvan Hills 31-yard line. But on third down, Miller was intercepted by Jake Kirk, who returned it 39 yards to put the Eagles up by two scores just before the end of the quarter.

Vilonia struck fast again to start the second quarter with a six-play, 49-yard drive. It was Estes once again, bookending the drive with an eight-yard scamper on first down, and a 20-yard run similar to his opening score. Bears junior Jaleel Henson blocked Gardner’s extra-point kick to leave the margin at 20-0 with 8:43 remaining in the first half.

The Eagles got another gift at the end of the Bears’ next possession when Neal’s punt went 10 yards and then took a backwards bounce to set Vilonia up at the Sylvan Hills’ 23-yard line.

That led to the first score for Sax three plays later. Sax, the high-profile senior running back for Vilonia, took it in from five yards out to give the Eagles a 27-0 lead with 5:05 left in the first half.