Saturday, October 31, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Badgers upset Sylvan Hills

Leader sports editor

Sylvan Hills answered Beebe’s opening touchdown drive and the game was tied 7-7 with 5:33 left in the first quarter, but the turnovers and penalties that have plagued the Bears in recent weeks began to appear, and the Badgers scored three unanswered touchdowns the rest of the half.

The Bears tried to climb their way back in the second half, but the hole was too deep and the Badgers prevailed 35-28 on senior night at Bro Erwin Stadium.

“Oh man, these kids are so resilient it’s unbelievable,” said Beebe coach John Shannon. “They could’ve got down and started feeling sorry for themselves, but they come to work every day and keep working.”

The Badgers have been without four starters since the fourth game of the week, including its quarterback and a 1,000-yard rusher from last year, but the ground game was effective on Friday.

The Badgers tried just one pass and all their 373 yards of offense was on the ground. The Badgers’ all-time leading rusher, Trip Smith, carried 43 times for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Halfback Connor Patrom had 12 carries for 74 yards and two scores and quarterback Bo Smith kept the ball on the option six times and picked up 47 yards. Three of Bo Smith’s carries converted fourth downs.

“It’s just something I had to get more comfortable with,” Shannon said about letting his fourth-string quarterback run the option. “We had some success with it against Mills and we ran it pretty well a couple of times at J.A. Fair. Bo’s done a great job and I just felt like we could do it.”

Beebe scored three touchdowns in the final 4:16 of the first half to turn a tie game into a 27-7 halftime lead, but Sylvan Hills wasn’t ready to fold.

The Bears scored on the first play of the second half when quarterback Jordan Washington kept up the middle for 70 yards.

On the ensuing drive, a holding penalty negated a 12-yard option keep by Bo Smith on third and 12, and the Badgers were forced to punt. Sylvan Hills needed nine plays to go 64 yards for its second touchdown of the quarter. Washington gained 28 yards on the first play and six more on the last one to make it 27-21 with 4:17 still remaining in the third period.

All the momentum swung to the Bears when a promising Beebe drive stalled after nine plays when a fumble gave Sylvan Hills the ball at its own 14. But the visitors couldn’t capitalize.

After one first down, Sylvan Hills faced third and 5 at the 33-yard line and was called for holding on a play for no gain. That made it third and 15, and Garrett Grier and Isaac Curry sacked Washington for another 5-yard loss. Before they could get the punt away, the Bears were then called for delay of game and ended up punting from their own 14-yard line.

Beebe got good field position on its own 49 with 8:33 remaining, and chewed up almost seven more minutes before scoring on a 3-yard run by Trip Smith. It was the 15th play of the drive that saw two fourth-down conversions. It also forced Sylvan Hills to use all of its timeouts, which became crucial later.

Sylvan Hills answered with a 51-yard drive. Washington completed to Deion Youngblood for 26 yards, and later hit Cameron Sharp for 19 yards and the score with 51 seconds remaining.

With no timeouts left, when Sylvan Hills failed to cover an onside kick, all Beebe had to do was kneel on the ball to preserve the victory.

The Badgers opened the game by doing just what Sylvan Hills coach Jim Withrow said his team couldn’t afford to allow, they marched down the field on a 10-play, 58-yard drive and scored. It started with a 14-yard run by Trip Smith, and ended with a 6-yard counter to Connor Patrom.

The Bears answered with their own 51-yard drive, but most of it came on two plays. On third and 5, Washington hit Sharp for a 20-yard gain to the Beebe 24. After an incomplete pass and a holding penalty, Washington scrambled for 23 yards and a touchdown, dodging several would-be tacklers along the way.

Trip Smith returned the kickoff 60 yards to the Sylvan Hills 21, but it was called back. Later in the drive, a 41-yard touchdown run by Patrom was also called back and the Badgers were forced to punt.

Sylvan Hills took possession on its own 19 and two plays later were at the Badger 32. Washington kept for 5 yards, and then 32 more. But the first turnovers came on the next play. Washington went deep for Sharp, but Patrom picked it off at the 9-yard line.

Beebe (5-4, 4-2) then put together a massive drive, going 91 yards in 18 plays. The drive began with 48 seconds left in the first quarter, and ended with 4:16 left in the half. The Badgers converted fourth down twice along the way, including a 2-yard run by quarterback Bo Smith for the touchdown.

The extra point was no good, leaving it 13-7.

Sylvan Hills was moving again, going 23 yards in four plays, but Bo Smith came through with a big hit of Sylvan Hills’ Deion Youngblood, forcing a fumble that Reese Anders covered for the Badgers at the Beebe 48.

This time it took just one play. After going off tackle the whole game, Trip Smith took a handoff around the left end 52 yards for the touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score 19-7.

Penalties did the Bears in on their next drive. An illegal shift on the first play negated a 22-yard pass to Youngblood. After a run for no gain, a hold negated a 7-yard scramble by Washington and pinned the Bears back on the Beebe 13. From second and 33, Brandon Bracely got 28 of it back in two carries, but was stopped for a 2-yard loss on fourth and 5 and Beebe took over at the Sylvan Hills 37.

After the Bears lined up off sides, they still couldn’t get the right personnel on the field and had to call timeout. It didn’t matter. Patrom took a counter handoff around the left side 32 yards for Beebe’s third touchdown three and a half minutes. Trip Smith converted the two points for a 27-7 lead with 30 seconds remaining in the first half.

Patrom intercepted another pass to end the half for Beebe.

Sylvan Hills (7-2, 4-2) finished with 354 yards of offense. Washington had 15 carries for 209 yards and two touchdowns.