Saturday, October 18, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Bears rout Falcons

Leader sports editor

The Sylvan Hills Bears had little trouble with their homecoming opponent on Friday, beating North Pulaski 56-6 in front of a nearly entirely pink crowd at Blackwood Field in Sherwood.

The Bears scored on six of their seven drives in the first half to take a 42-0 lead into intermission. The Falcons had some success offensively but couldn’t sustain it. They had three drives of seven plays or more and picked up seven first downs in the first half, but plays for negative yardage or penalties always helped thwart promising drives.

The Falcons’ first drive wasn’t one of the good ones. The Bears held their visitors to three and out and took over after a short punt at their own 41-yard line. It was the home team’s longest drive of the half in terms of number of plays. After two plays, Sylvan Hills faced third and 2, but got 18 yards on a carry by running back Fred Williams. That set up first down at the Falcons’ 34.

Quarterback Tra Doss hit Marlon Clemmons for 12 yards on first down. Two plays later he hit receiver Nathan Thomas for 9 yards to set up first down at the 12. On the next play, Williams took the handoff up the middle for the game’s first score. Zac Brown hit the extra point to make it 7-0 with 8:16 left in the opening quarter.

The Falcons took over at their own 28 and put together a nine-play drive, but failed to convert a fourth and 4 on the Sylvan Hills 35 and turned it over on downs.

On the very next play, Doss hit Thomas, who was lined up in the slot, on the post pattern on the right seam for 65 yards and another score with 4:23 left in the first period.

North Pulaski then drove seven plays to the Bears’ 45-yard line, but went backwards 13 yards from there and punted.

Sylvan Hills took over on its own 28. After an incomplete pass, Doss hit Thomas again for 12 yards, handed off to Williams for 11, then pitched to Clemmons, who kept around the right side and raced 49 yards down the home sideline to make it 21-0 with 52 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Falcons got one first down on the next drive but was forced to punt after two incomplete passes and a 5-yard scramble by quarterback Michael Barnes.

The Falcons’ defense held the Bears when they went for it on fourth and 7 from their own 26, but the NP offense responded with its worst drive of the game. Sylvan Hills’ defensive end Tyler Davis sacked Barnes for a 7-yard loss on first down.

Barnes then hit Michael Bush for a 7-yard gain to make it third and 10, but Elijah Sowards got a sack for -11 yards and the Falcons’ punted from the Bears’ 36. The punt went into the end zone and the Bears started the next drive from the 20.

This time it took five plays to score. Clemmons got 37 yards on two of the first three plays. Doss kept for 18 then hit Clemmons on a 26-yard screen pass for a touchdown. The extra point made it 28-0 with 5:02 left in the half.

North Pulaski got one first down on the next drive, but lost 5 yards from there and punted again. Thomas caught the punt at the 10-yard line, and returned it 52 yards to the Falcons’ 38. On the very next play, Doss hit Sowards down the left seam for the fifth touchdown and a 35-0 Sylvan Hills lead with 2:05 remaining in the first half.

The Falcons then fumbled the ball away on the first possession of the ensuing drive, and Sylvan Hills answered with its third one-play drive of the game. This time Doss kept for 13 yards and the score to send the game to halftime with the Bears leading 42-0.

Sylvan Hills got the ball to start the second half and Clemmons took a screen pass 58 yards for another score with 10 minutes left in the third quarter.

North Pulaski drove six plays and punted on fourth and 2, and it was the Bears’ backups turn to get on the board. Sophomore Jordan Washington went under center for the Bears and picked up 9 yards on a busted play on first down. Andre Collins and Thomas moved to running back. Collins picked up 6 yards on two carries and Thomas gained 13 for a first down.

Collins then took a handoff up the middle 24 yards to the Falcon 14. A 4-yard Collins run and an illegal procedure penalty put it at the 15, and Washington took it in from the 15 on the next play to make it 56-0 with 10:12 left in the game.

North Pulaski took over after a nice return by Dontrell Allen at its own 40. From there, the Falcons drove 60 yards in 11 plays with the help of a pass interference penalty, and finally got on the board when Myles Hunter plunged 1 yard for the score as the buzzer sounded. The untimed extra point was blocked to set the final margin.

The Bears finished with 502 yards of offense. Doss completed 10 of 13 pass attempts for 221 yards and four touchdowns.

Clemmons carried five times for 104 yards and one touchdown, and caught three passes for 96 yards and two scores. Thomas caught four passes for 87 yards and a score, and carried once for 13. Williams carried six times for 47 yards and a touchdown.

Sylvan Hills, 7-0, 4-0, travels to McClellan next week while North Pulaski stays on the road at Jacksonville.