Saturday, October 01, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Bears get second revenge victory

Leader staff writer

Big plays and missed tackles made for a tit-for-tat game between Sylvan Hills and Little Rock Christian that wasn’t decided until the final few minutes of the game.

The Bears scored a touchdown at the 2:46 mark of the fourth quarter to pull off a hard fought 42 to 35 victory over the Warriors.

The win moves the Bears to a 5-0 record and the Warriors fell to 1-4.

“I knew we needed to play well,” said Bears coach Jim Withrow said after the game. “I wasn’t shocked that it was close. They have a lot of talent. We just kept hanging in there.”

Meeting with the team after the game Withrow told the Bears that he was proud of them. “You are good but we want to be special. This is the best chance we’ve had in 10 years to be in the playoffs and host a playoff game. But It’s not about you, it’s about us. We need to do it together.”

There was only one punt the entire game and that was by the Warriors. Every other change of possession was either because of a score or turnover on downs.

Sylvan Hills got on the board first late in the first quarter behind runs by quarterback Jordan Washington, completed passes to Ryan Lumpkin and a 36-yard run into the end zone by Delyn Fairrow.

There was a lot of good tackling early by cornerback Fred Mackey and defensive end Cole Miller to stopped Little Rock Christian drives.

But after the Bears got on the scoreboard the Warriors came back with their own touchdown two minutes later behind runs by Ladarius Burnes and a scoring pass from Jackson Bowersock to MJ Loggins.

The Bears didn’t have an answer to stopping Burnes who had leading roles in all five Warrior touchdowns until near the end of the game when they corralled Burnes on a couple of run efforts that stopped the Warriors from tying up the game.

With the score tied 7-7, the Warriors went for an onside kick that the Bears pounced on. After completed passes to Fairrow and Jamar Stevens, Andre Collins scampered in from 19 yards out.

Tito Mendoza hit not only that extra point, but six of them through the night.

Halfway through the second quarter the Warriors tied the game at 14 behind a two-yard run by Burnes punctuated with his 39-yard scamper three-plays earlier.

Sylvan Hills found the end zone again two minutes later on 20-yard pass from Washington to Jamir Shutes.

The Bears tackling skills seemed to dissipate on the Warriors next possession as Little Rock Christian marched the ball from their own 20, scoring on a 36-yard run by Burnes where at least five Bears had a solid chance to bring him down and missed.

With the extra point kick, the score was even at 21-all.

The Bears, however, went into half time up 28-21, scoring with just 32 seconds left in the half as Washington stretched at the end of a 16-yard scamper and broke the goal line plane with the ball.

But the momentum went to the Warriors after halftime as they scored twice within minutes of the third quarter starting. On their first possession of the second half the Warriors tied the game with a 49-yard touchdown bomb from Bowersock to Henley Bland.

Little Rock Christian tried their second of three onside kick attempts and this worked in their favor, recovering the ball on the 50-yard line. On a third and nine play from the 34-yard line, Bowersock hit Burnes on a little drop pass and flew 25 yards into the end zone.

The TD and extra point put the Warriors up top 35-28. The score enthused the Warriors who looked like they were going to stop the Bears, but hard running by Washington and Fairrow pushed the ball down to the one-yard line where Collins punched it in.

Tied through three quarters and neither team making strong inroads in the early part of the fourth quarter made it clear that whoever scored next would claim victory. With less than three minutes left in the game Washington took it in from the six-yard line.

The Warriors tried to send the game into overtime, marching down the field before stalling 30 yards shy of the end zone.