Saturday, September 07, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Sylvan Hills impressive, beats Eagles

Special to The Leader

The Sylvan Hills Bears kicked off a new football season with a bang Friday night when they traveled to Vilonia’s Philip Weaver Stadium and defeated the Eagles 31-16.

In contrast to last year’s contest which was played in heavy rains and strong winds, it was a beautiful night for football and the Bears took advantage of it, with 567 yards of offense while holding Vilonia to 237 yards. Sylvan Hills quarterback Tra Doss had three touchdown runs of 85, 60 and 15 yards.

“I’m pretty excited,” Sylvan Hills head coach Jim Withrow said. “I thought the kids executed and played well and made a lot of plays. The defense played excellent. Coming in and beating a 5A West team, that’s good. We had a lot of yards, but a lot of penalties. We’ve got to clean that up next week. You’ve got to play hard, you’ve got to play well, you’ve got to play great defense, and we did all those things.”

Vilonia received the opening kick-off and returned it to its 23-yard line. After Drew Estes broke for a 20-yard gain and the Eagles were aided by four penalties by the Bears, the Sylvan Hills defense forced a fourth down. On the fourth down try, the Bears’ Chris Daily intercepted a wayward pass to stop the Eagles’ drive.

Doss then broke free on their first play from scrimmage for an 85-yard touchdown run. The point after was good by Philip Wood for a 7-0 lead.

The Eagles’ Houston Cotton returned the kickoff to the Vilonia 42-yard line, but the Bears’ defense held and forced a punt by quarterback Jared Willis to the 2-yard line.

On the second play of Sylvan Hills’ second drive, the snap went through the hands of Doss and resulted in a safety, making the score 7-2.

The Eagles were unable to move the ball on their next possession and turned the ball over on downs to the Bears. Marlon Clemmons broke for 24 yards to the Eagle 28. Vilonia’s defense held and forced a fourth down fumble by Doss. He managed to get back to the Vilonia 24-yard line where the Eagles took over on downs.

After moving the ball to midfield, Vilonia returned the favor and fumbled back to the 37-yard line and was forced to punt. The Eagles picked up a tipped pass on the Bears’ possession, but after a sack by Sylvan Hills’ Kylan Wade, the Eagles were forced to punt again. The punt by Willis went out of bounds on the Bear 1-yard line.

The poor field position was no barrier for the Bears, who picked up the 99 yards in just three plays. Forty six of it came on the first play when Doss hit Nathan Thomas with a pass to the Bear 47-yard line. After one more play and a Bear penalty, Doss broke free from the 40-yard line for a 60-yard touchdown run. Woods’ PAT made the score 14-2.

After forcing a punt by the Eagles, the Bears were also forced to punt. A bad snap resulted in Vilonia receiving the ball with excellent field position on Sylvan Hills’ 11-yard line. The Eagles took the ball in from there for the touchdown. The two-point conversion was successful and cut the margin to 14-10. That’s the way it remained until halftime, and the Bears continued to move the ball well in the second half.

On the first possession of the second half, Clemmons and Davis ran the ball for the Bears and Doss connected with Thomas to the Eagle 37. After a first down run by Davis, Doss broke free yet again from the 15-yard line for the touchdown. Wood added the extra point for a lead of 21-10.

After the Eagles fell just short of a first down and turned the ball over to the Bears, Doss ran to the Bear 48. Joe Craft came in at quarterback for a cramping Doss and led the Bears down to the 5-yard line. Unable to punch it in, Wood kicked the field goal, making the score 24-10 Sylvan Hills.

The Bears scored again with a 1-yard touchdown run by Wade with 8:00 to go in the game for a 31-10 lead.

Vilonia’s Jeremiah Santiago returned the kickoff all the way to the Bear 29-yard line, but the drive ended with an interception by Quincy Flowers for the Bears.

Vilonia’s last possession resulted in a touchdown with 6.4 seconds left in the game. The extra point was no good, resulting in the final score of 31-16.

Doss finished with 12 carries for 228 yards and 3 touchdowns. Davis carried for 131 yards while Clemmons added 92 yards in the victory.

The Bears play their home opener next Friday when they host Hot Springs Lakeside. The Rams lost their opener on Tuesday, falling 39-35 to Little Rock Christian Academy.