Saturday, September 26, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Bears pile up points, yards on the Comets

Special to The Leader

The Sylvan Hills Bears traveled to Mills on Friday night to open 5A-Central conference play. The Bears (4-0, 1-0) defeated the Comets (1-3, 0-1) 45-21 in a hard-fought contest. Sylvan Hills had a total of 554 yards of offense, 437 of which was rushing, while the defense held Mills to 287 yards.

“I’m really happy,” said Sylvan Hills coach Jim Withrow. “I was pretty concerned about this. I thought they were going to play well. It’s two (Pulaski) County schools, and we always play hard and get after it. It was a very hard-fought game, very physical, just like it was two years ago. That’s exactly the way I thought it would be. I’m very proud of my players. They came in and played real well.”

The Bears had the first possession of the game and went 82 yards in three plays, the third play being a 66-yard touchdown run by Brandon Bracely. Tito Mandoza added the extra point, and the Bears led 7-0 less than a minute into the game.

The defense forced a Comet punt, but Mills returned the favor, and Sylvan Hills punted, also. However, that punt was fumbled, and the Bears recovered on the Mills 48-yard line. Sylvan Hills took advantage of the turnover, scoring again with 5:44 to go in the first quarter. Again, it was Bracely on the final carry into the end zone. Mandoza added the point after for the 14-0 lead.

Mills answered right back, gaining good field position due to a penalty on the Bears that was enforced on the kickoff. Another Sylvan Hills penalty also aided in the 49-yard drive, which was capped off by a 10-yard touchdown run by Comet back Brandon Bunting. That cut the Bears’ lead to 14-7.

The Bears responded with a 71-yard drive, moving down the field on runs by Bracely, quarterback Jordan Washington, and Deon Youngblood. It was Bracely again with his third touchdown of the night, to stretch the lead back to 21-7 with 11:55 to go in the half.

On Mills ensuing possession, Rajhon Ware escaped for a 43-yard touchdown run to cut the lead back to seven, at 21-14 with 9:25 remaining in the second quarter.

After the backs moved the ball from the Bear 36-yard line to the Comet 31, Washington connected on a touchdown pass to Ryan Lumpkin. Mandoza’s extra point made the Sylvan Hills lead 28-14.

A good punt by Washington pinned the Comets on their 9-yard line. Fred Marbley completed a pass to Lando Caldwell to midfield, but a fumble occurred on the next play, and Sylvan Hills recovered with one minute to go in the half.

The Bears moved from their own 47-yard line to the Comet 8-yard line in five plays, the last of which was a 25-yard completion from Washington to Cameron Sharp.

With two seconds on the clock, Mandoza was good on a 25-yard field goal to close the half and boost the Bears lead to 31-14.

Mills opened the second half with a drive that was ended by a leaping interception on the 1-yard line by Cameron Flippo. Sylvan Hills then drove 99 yards in six plays, the last 80 coming on Bracely,s fourth touchdown run of the night, making the score 38-14.

Mills added a touchdown, and then Washington hit Lumpkin for another touchdown pass in the end zone to set the final score at 45-21.

Bracely led the Bears with 194 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Washington rushed for 103 yards and passed for 117 yards and two touchdowns.

Flippo had 13 tackles and one interception, Marquaylan Jones had 10 tackles, and Jonathon Hicks had nine tackles.