Saturday, September 17, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Sylvan Hills dominates on defense

Leader sports editor

The Sylvan Hills defense dominated and the offense was efficient as the Bears routed Jacksonville 42-7 Friday at Jan Crow Stadium.

Sylvan Hills’ game plan was to pressure the quarterback and the strategy worked. The Bears totaled nine sacks of Jacksonville quarterback Rowdy Weathers. Jacksonville managed just 87 total yards of offense and five of its 11 offensive possessions went for negative yardage.

“We have to get pressure on the quarterback,” said Sylvan Hills coach Jim Withrow. “Tonight I thought the defense was great. The defensive line was outstanding. It was just a dominant performance by our defense.”

In the first half, Sylvan Hills opened the scoring after moving Jacksonville backwards on the home team’s first possession. A bad punt set the Bears up at the Jacksonville 36, and it took just four plays to get into the end zone.

A 28-yard run by Dylan Fairrow on the second play got the ball to the 4-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Jordan Washington plunged it in from 3 yards out and Tito Mendoza’s extra point made it 7-0 with 8:09 left in the first quarter.

Jacksonville lost 8 yards on its next possession, and again Sylvan Hills started in Titan territory.

The Bears converted a third and 7 with a 12-yard pass from Washington to Jamar Lane. Deon Young-blood then rumbled 21 yards to set up first and goal at the 7.

Two plays later, Youngblood broke through the line of scrimmage for a 14-0 lead with 4:40 remaining.

After a failed on-side kick attempt, Jacksonville got its first and second first downs on its third drive, but things went awry from there. Quarterback Rowdy Weathers hit Dillon Birge for 11 yards on first down, and then scrambled for 19 more on second and long to move the chains to the Sylvan Hills 15-yard line.

The next four plays all resulted in Sylvan Hills sacks, including two by Andre Collins, who finished the game with four sacks.

The sacks pushed the Titans back 20 yards, and the Bears took over on their own 35.

Five plays got the ball to the Jacksonville 33, and Fairrow did the rest, making the score 21-0 with 11:35 remaining in the first half.

Ty Compton got his second sack of the half on third and 10 to force another Jacksonville punt, and Fred Mackie returned it 30 yards to the Jacksonville 28.

Three plays later, Washington hit Youngblood from 12 yards out, and Mendoza made it 28-0 with 9:12 left in the half.

Jacksonville got one first down before punting, and finally got a defensive stop to get the ball back on the Bear 37.

After an incomplete pass, Jacksonville took advantage of Sylvan Hills’ all-out blitz. Weathers took a two-step drop and hit Jakyree Wynne on a quick slant pattern. Wynne broke several tackles and ran 63 yards for the score. Darryl Kimble-Brook’s extra point made it 28-7 with 3:09 on the clock and that’s how it stayed until halftime.

Sylvan Hills got good field position to start the second half after Jacksonville was issued an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for not yielding to Sylvan Hills at the locker room.

The Bears started at their own 46 and needed nine plays to go back up by 28. The first play of the drive was an 11-yard run by Youngblood, and so was the last play of the drive with 9:21 left in the third quarter.

The Bears’ defense then got three-straight sacks on the ensuing possession, two by Omari Hervey sandwiching Collins’ final sack of the night.

Youngblood lost the ball on the second play of the next possession, but the defense again stopped Jacksonville after one first down.

Another good return by Mackie set the Bears up at the Jacksonville 33. After one first down, a penalty and a sack by Jacksonville’s Derrick Bragg cost Sylvan Hills 8 yards, but the Bears scored on third down on a 14-yard pass from Washington to Youngblood. Mendoza’s extra point set the final margin and initiated the mercy rule clock with 36 seconds left in the third quarter.

Sylvan Hills finished with 350 total yards.

Youngblood finished with 144 total yards and four touchdowns. He had 14 carries for 118 yards and two scores, and two receptions for 26 yards and two touchdowns.

Fairrow had six carries for 78 yards and a score.

The Bears (3-0) begin 5A-Central Conference play with a big game at home against McClellan next week. Jacksonville (1-2) opens league play in the 6A-East at Searcy.