Saturday, September 03, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Bears’ offense gets big lead, defense holds

Leader sports editor

Sylvan Hills scored 41 of its 48 total points in the first half, and it was just enough to earn a 48-34 victory over Catholic High in the season opener Friday at Blackwood Field in Sherwood.

A wild first half turned into a defensive struggle in the second half, as each team managed just one touchdown apiece in the third and fourth quarters after combing for 68 points in first two.

Sylvan Hills led 41-27 at the break, but went three and out on the first possession of the second half, and a bad punt set the Rockets up at the Bears’ 39-yard line.

Catholic quarterback Taylor Price later scored from 2 yards out to pull within one score of the Bears halfway through the third quarter.

That’s the way it stayed until late in the fourth quarter. Sylvan Hills quarterback Jordan Washington had a 70-yard touchdown run called back for holding early in the fourth quarter. Later in the same drive, Sylvan Hills got all the way to the Catholic 7-yard line before throwing an interception in the end zone.

Penalties hurt the Rockets late. A pass interference call and a holding penalty nullified big third-down conversions, and an interception gave Sylvan Hills the ball at their own 44-yard line with 2:46 remaining.

On the next play, Washington keeps up the middle to Catholic’s 7-yard line, but a holding penalty on the next play moved it back to the 17.

From there, Deon Young-blood ran it in with 2:21 remaining in the game and Tito Mendoza set the final margin with the extra point.

Both teams scored easily in the first half, but Catholic made a couple mistakes and Sylvan Hills took advantage. The Rockets got the ball first, but fumbled it away on their own side of the field.

Sylvan Hills scored a few plays later on a 2-yard pass from Jordan Washington to Daelyn Fairrow. The extra point was blocked and Sylvan Hills held a 6-0 lead for exactly 11 seconds.

Catholic’s Samy Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. That point-after-try was also no good, leaving it 6-6 with 5:03 left in the first quarter.

Sylvan Hills needed just a couple of plays to take back the lead. Washington hit Jamar Lane for a 75-yard score, and Tito Mendoza added the extra point for a 13-6 lead.

Catholic also didn’t need much time to score, and again it was Johnson. Just a few plays had the Rockets on the Sylvan Hills 25, where Johnson broke a tackle in the backfield and went in for the tying score with 2:01 remaining in the quarter.

Washington capped the Bears’ next drive with his own 25-yard touchdown run, and the PAT made it 20-13 at the end of the first quarter.

Sylvan Hills got a defensive stop early in the second quarter, and Washington and Lane hooked up again for the score. This time it was from 20-yards out, and a missed extra point left it 26-13 with 8:15 left in the half.

Catholic answered with another long kickoff return, and then a 36-yard touchdown pass. The PAT pulled them within 6 points with six minutes to go in the half, but the half was a long way from over.

A good drive ended well when Washington hit Ryan Lumpkin from 6-yards out for a 33-20 lead with 2:58 on the clock. Sylvan Hills then covered a kickoff that Catholic failed to field on the Rockets’ 18-yard line.

On the very next play, Washington kept for the score, and Deon Youngblood added the two-point conversion for a 41-20 Sylvan Hills lead with 2:35 left in the half.

That was plenty of time for Catholic to get back to within two scores. This time Luke Schildknecht scored capped a quick drive with a 5-yard run with 1:25 to go. The extra point made it 41-27 going into halftime.