Saturday, September 09, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Sylvan Hills batters HSL Rams by 26

Leader sports editor

The Sylvan Hills Bears bounced back from a disappointing opening week with a stellar home opener, battering the Rams of Hot Springs Lakeside 48-22 Friday at Blackwood Field in Sherwood.

Sylvan Hills scored the game’s first two touchdowns for a 14-0 lead. After Lakeside scored early in the second quarter, Sylvan Hills added three more touchdowns before halftime to take a 35-8 advantage into intermission.

The Bears got it first in the second half, and went up by 33 when Deon Youngblood ran the final 11 yards of the drive for a touchdown just 90 seconds into the third quarter.

The Bears were 5 yards away from mercy ruling the Rams after a blocked punt gave Sylvan Hills the ball at the Ram 5-yard line with a 41-8 lead. But Sylvan Hills fumbled it right back two plays later, setting up Lakeside’s best drive of the game.

The Rams went 88 yards, getting the last 47 on one pass play to make it 41-15 with 5:28 left in the third period. Sylvan Hills started from its own 38, and three-straight runs by Youngblood got the last 22 yards. Tito Mendoza’s extra point made it 48-15 with 2:47 left in the third quarter.

Lakeside got the final score of the game with 11:22 left in the fourth quarter against mostly backup defenders. The extra point set the final margin.

Each of the first two drives of the game ended in punts, Lakeside didn’t handle the Sylvan Hills punt, and the Bears covered the ball at the Ram 38. It was the first of several punt game mishaps by the visiting team throughout the game.

Sylvan Hills only got 3 yards on three plays, but converted on fourth and 7 when Ty Compton took a screen pass 9 yards to the 26-yard line.

Compton then took a handoff to the 5, and two plays later, Youngblood scored the first of six touchdowns on the night.

Sylvan Hills forced another three-and-out series by Lakeside. This time the punt snap was high. The Ram punter covered it, but it was still Bears’ ball at the Ram 26. Youngblood took it to the 10 before Compton caught another screen pass for the touchdown with 1:57 left in the opening quarter.

Lakeside got behind on the chains again on its next drive, but converted on second and 15 to the 43-yard line. Running back Michael James then broke loose for a 57-yard touchdown run and added the two-point conversion to make it 14-8 just 42 seconds into the second period.

Sylvan Hills answered right back. After a good kick return, the Bears faced fourth and 2 at the 45-yard line. Youngblood then spun out of one tackle and raced 55 yards for the score with 9:46 left in the half.

Lakeside was forced to punt on the next drive, and again had trouble. Another high snap forced a running kick that traveled nowhere and bounced backwards. The Bears took over on the Ram 16-yard line and scored on the first play of the drive. It was Youngblood again, this time on the screen pass for a 28-8 Sylvan Hills lead with 7:25 to go in the half.

Lakeside had a nice drive from its own 16 to the Sylvan Hills 11 before things went awry. Truitt Luth and Anthony Chairez got into the Ram backfield for a 4-yard loss. A fumbled snap lost another 4 yards, and safety Darius Waddell picked off the third-down pass in the end zone for a touchback.

Two plays picked up 8 yards to the 33 before Youngblood got loose again, this time for 67 yards and another touchdown. Mendoza’s PAT made it 35-8 going into the break.

Youngblood had 18 carries for 256 yards and five rushing touchdowns. He also caught three passes for 28 yards and one score.

The Bears (1-1) host archrival Jacksonville (1-1) next Friday.