Saturday, November 14, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> LRCA buries Bears early in first round

Leader sportswriter

Sylvan Hills fell into a 21-0 hole at top-seeded Little Rock Christian Academy in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs Friday, and the Bears could never recover, as the Warriors rolled to a 42-15 win.

Both teams’ offenses went three and out to start the game, but the Warriors (11-0) found the end zone on four of their next five possessions to take a sizable lead. Sylvan Hills (6-4) found the end zone for the first time with just over a minute left until halftime, but trailed 28-6 at halftime.

The first score of the game came on a 17-yard touchdown pass from LRCA quarterback Kyron Sanders to tight end Isaiah Harper with 6:28 to go in the opening quarter. The PAT made it 7-0 Warriors.

The Bears went three and out on their next possession, and the Warriors scored on the next play, which was an 82-yard run by tailback Damarea Crockett. The extra point made it 14-0.

Little Rock Christian, the No. 1 West seed, found the end zone again after an 11-play drive. That score was another Sanders to Harper connection – this one from 15 yards out, and the PAT made it 21-0.

The Bears were able to get something going offensively on the ensuing drive. Sylvan Hills, the No. 4 Central seed, put together a 12-play drive and converted two fourth downs. The second of those fourth-down conversions was a 23-yard touchdown run by Ty Compton on fourth and 2 with 1:14 left until halftime.

Compton’s touchdown made it 21-6, and the Bears’ defense put LRCA in a fourth-and-5 situation at midfield on the next drive. With under a minute remaining, LRCA went for it, and took the momentum into halftime as that play resulted in a 50-yard touchdown pass from Sanders to big-play receiver Joe Hampton.

The PAT gave the hosts a 28-6 lead with 33 seconds left until halftime, and that was the score at the break. Sylvan Hills’ offense again went three and out to start the second half, and LRCA answered with a 5-play drive that was capped with a Sanders to Crockett touchdown on a screen pass that went 40 yards.

The extra point gave the Warriors a 35-6 cushion, and they scored again with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter to invoke the sportsmanship rule. That score came on an 8-yard run by Crockett. It capped a 4-play drive, and the extra point put LRCA on top 42-6.

Sylvan Hills’ defense scored the next points on a safety. Before that, the Bears turned it over on downs at the LRCA 1-yard line. On the next play, Warrior running back MJ Loggins ran for 2 yards on a sweep play, but a holding penalty in the end zone resulted in the safety and gave Sylvan Hills two points and the ball.

Little Rock Christian kicked a short kick on the following kickoff. Deon Youngblood took the kick from the Bears’ 45 to the LRCA 40, and on the next play, quarterback Jordan Washington connected with Brandon Bracely on a go route in the middle of the field for the 40-yard score with 4:05 to play.

Tito Mandoza’s extra point was good, which set the final score.

Little Rock Christian finished the game with 420 yards of offense – 298 of which came in the first half. The Bears were held to 145 yards of offense in the first half, but finished the game with 326 yards.

Sanders finished the night 16-25 passing for 257 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Washington was 8-19 passing for 131 yards, one touchdown and two picks.

Washington led the Bears’ rushing attack with 18 carries for 69 yards, and Bracely added 15 carries for 56 yards. LRCA’s Crockett led all rushers with 10 carries for 108 yards and two scores. Crockett also had four catches for 59 yards and one score.

Hampton led the Warriors’ receivers with five catches for 108 yards and one score. Bracely led the Bears with four receptions for 81 yards and one touchdown.