Saturday, October 25, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Sickly Bears escape Lions

Leader sportswriter

Sylvan Hills entered Friday’s 5A-Central game against McClellan with 20 of its players sick, and despite that and lengthy delays throughout the game because of penalties, the Bears managed to escape Little Rock with a 38-29 win and keep their perfect record in tact.

“We sent 20 guys home today throwing up,” said Sylvan Hills coach Jim Withrow. “We sent them home, brought them back, gatorated them up as much as we could, and said let’s just get out there and survive.

“Our tailback’s (Fred Williams) not here. His backup (Tyler Davis), I think he sprained his foot. So we had to use (Andre) Collins, and he did a good job. He’s just a sophomore.”

Several other starters for the Bears either played ill or didn’t play at all, but the Bears gutted it out regardless. They scored the game’s first points on their second possession of the game.

After starting from their own 40, the Bears capped an eight-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by Trajan ‘TD’ Doss with 6:03 left in the opening quarter. Zac Brown’s PAT gave Sylvan Hills a 7-0 lead.

McClellan (4-4, 3-2) answered on its next offensive series, thanks in large part to a muffed Sylvan Hills punt that the Crimson Lions covered at the Bears’ 34-yard line. On the next snap, tailback Pierre Strong took it to the end zone, and the PAT tied the score at 7-7.

Sylvan Hills (8-0, 5-0) answered with a 25-yard field by Brown on the next drive, giving Sylvan Hills a 10-7 cushion with 2:22 remaining in the first quarter. The Bears scored again about midway through the second quarter.

That second-quarter scoring drive lasted eight plays, and was capped with a 24-yard TD run by running back Marlon Clemmons. The PAT was good, putting the Bears up 17-7.

A costly fumble by the Lions at the goal line, which was covered by the Bears in the end zone, set Sylvan Hills up with first and 10 at their own 20-yard line with just a couple of minutes left in the half.

A 33-yard run by Doss on the third play of the drive helped set up a 35-yard TD pass from Doss to receiver Cameron Dews, and the PAT gave the Bears a 24-7 lead at halftime.

McClellan got on the board just 12 seconds into the second half. Strong received the second-half kickoff at the Lions’ 15-yard line, and he took it 85 yards for a McClellan score.

The Lions went for two, and got it after Trenton Lewis punched it in. The successful two-point try cut the Bears’ lead to 24-15 with 11:48 left in the third quarter.

Tyler Davis didn’t play in the second half because of his injury, and that allowed Andre Collins to get the bulk of the carries in the second half.

Collins carried three times for 14 yards on the Bears’ first offensive series of the second half, but the Bears scored on a 35-yard pass from Doss to Nathan Thomas on fourth and 4 with 8:53 left in the third quarter. Christian Balchen kicked the extra point, giving the Bears a 31-15 lead.

McClellan’s offense answered with a 10-play drive that was capped by a 1-yard TD run by Strong. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful, making the score 31-21 Bears.

Sylvan Hills’ final points came with 9:37 remaining in the game. The Bears put together a six-play drive that ended with Clemmons scoring on a 9-yard run. The PAT gave Sylvan Hills a 38-21 lead.

The Lions answered with an 11-play drive that ended with an 8-yard TD run by quarterback Dalvion Childs with 5:04 left to play. Raoshun Young hammered in the two-point conversion, setting the final score.

Sylvan Hills finished with 359 yards of offense. McClellan ended the night with 268. Doss was 7 of 16 passing for 104 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Doss also had 65 yards rushing on 11 carries and one TD, but Clemmons led the Bears’ rushing attack, toting it 10 times for 108 yards and two scores.

The Bears return home for their conference game next week. They’ll host Beebe (3-5, 3-2) next Friday at 7 p.m.