Tuesday, November 11, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Bears face potent offense at Wynne

Leader sports editor

Disappointment might be the best word to describe the last two weeks of the regular season for the Sylvan Hills Bears. After a fantastic 8-0 start, the Bears lost a heartbreaker to the suddenly streaking Beebe Badgers, then fell in week 10 to top-ranked Pulaski Academy in a game they had to play without starting quarterback Trajan Doss.

In two weeks, the Bears went from hopes of an outright conference championship to settling for a three seed in the state tournament, and it is perhaps the toughest draw for a three seed in the state this year.

Sylvan Hills has to travel to Wynne to take on a Yellowjackets squad that spent most of the season at the top of most polls, but suffered numerous turnovers on an inopportune week and lost to Batesville in week seven.

“It’s a tough draw but we put ourselves in this position,” said Sylvan Hills coach Jim Withrow. “The thing about it is, we were going to have to play them eventually anyway, so what does it matter whether it’s now or in a couple of weeks. Everybody’s after the same goal.”

The Bears’ coaching staff is confident their players can move the ball. They have moved it on everyone they’ve played.

The problem in recent weeks has been finishing drives. Sylvan Hills committed three turnovers inside PA’s 15-yard line in that 50-20 loss.

“We were talking about it this weekend, I bet we left five touchdowns out there in these last two weeks,” Withrow said. “This week, when we get down there, we have to score. We think we can move the ball. We’ve moved it all year. Our whole deal is, when we get inside the 15, we have to finish the drive.”

The Bears will have to play the first-round game without Doss at QB again this week, and won’t have him back until the semifinal round. Doss had surgery on a broken wrist on Tuesday and will have to sit for two weeks.

“We just hope we can play well enough to hang around that long,” Withrow said.

Wynne has a small but athletic defense that runs a 5-2 and takes few risks.

The offense is engineered by quarterback Ross Trail who has committed to Cincinnati. The Yellowjackets operate out of the spread formation, with Trail able to run or throw effectively.

“He’s very good,” Withrow said. “He does a great job of making all the reads in the running game and throwing the ball. They move it up and down the field with a lot of success. They’re really well-coached and they’re good at what they do.”

Doss will probably be the only Sylvan Hills player to miss the game, but several are nursing injuries this week. Withrow is calling four other starters questionable with various injuries. They’re taking it easy this week, and the head Bear is confident at least three of them will be able to play.

“We’re pretty dinged up right now,” Withrow said. “I think we’re going to have everyone but Doss and maybe one other, but I don’t know how many of them will be 100 percent.”

The game kicks off at 7 p.m.