Monday, November 10, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Picks let Bruins pull out on Bears

Leader sportswriter

Sylvan Hills ended the regular season in a tough way Friday at top-ranked Pulaski Academy, as the host Bruins dominated the first half en route to a 50-20 win over the Bears, securing their third-consecutive 5A-Central Conference championship.

The Bears suffered their first loss of the season last week against Beebe, and with Friday’s loss to PA, they’ll enter next week’s state tournament as the No. 3 seed from the conference. That means they’ll travel to No. 3-ranked Wynne (9-1, 6-1), the No. 2 seed from the East, for next week’s playoff opener that’ll kickoff at 7 p.m.

Pulaski Academy (9-1, 7-0) scored first after a seven-play drive ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Will Hefley to receiver Zach Kelley with 9:26 left in the first quarter. The PAT was no good, giving the Bruins a 6-0 lead.

Sylvan Hills (8-2, 5-2) answered with a TD on its first possession. The Bears capped that 10-play drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Jordan Washington to Marlon Clemmons with 5:41 to go in the opening quarter. The PAT was blocked, which left the score tied at 6-6.

Washington, who normally plays receiver, played at quarterback in place of senior Trajan Doss, who didn’t play the position because of a broken wrist he suffered last week. Doss did, however, start in the secondary on defense.

Unfortunately for the Bears, it was all PA after that. The Bruins ended the first half with 37 unanswered points to take a commanding 43-6 lead into halftime, which in turn, invoked the mercy rule at the start of the second half.

Washington, who was 7 for 15 passing in the first half for 45 yards with one TD and three interceptions, played significantly better in the second half.

In quarters three and four, Washington completed 5 of 6 passes for 73 yards and two TDs with no interceptions.

“He did a lot of good things,” said Bears’ coach Jim Withrow of Washington’s play. “He did a lot of things we can build on, and he played well in the second half. This is just a tough place to break in.

“I thought he played admirably. We just didn’t stick it in the times we had a chance in the first half. We left a lot of meat on the bone. You’ve got to score with them (PA) and we didn’t do that.”

Washington’s first TD pass of the second half came on a 21-yarder to Cameron Dews with 4:45 left in the third quarter, and the second came on a 43-yarder to Nathan Thomas with 5:45 to play. Zac Brown’s PATs after each score set the Bears’ point total for the evening.