Saturday, October 07, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Hillside pounds Comets

Leader sports editor

The Sylvan Hills Bears got just what it needed from its short conference road trip to Dixon Road in Little Rock, an easy win. The Bears cruised to a 35-0 halftime lead over Mills to invoke the mercy rule, and coasted to a 42-14 victory over the Comets for the first 5A-Central win of the season.

Sylvan Hills scored on five of its six first-half possessions, including the opener. That drive culminated in running back Deon Youngblood taking the snap in the wildcat formation, faking the run and throwing a jump pass to Omari Hervey for the score with 8:34 left in the first quarter.

Mills first drive went nowhere, and then went backwards. The punt snap was high and over the punter’s head. The Comets covered it, but the Bears took over at the Comet 15-yard line. Sophomore Chris Thomas took it in from there, and Tito Mendoza’s extra point made it 14-0 with 6:18 on the clock in the opening quarter.

Hervey, who usually plays defense, got a sack on third down to force another Mills punt.

This one went off without a hitch, and the Bears took over at their own 20. They converted one third and 11 on a reception by Devante White, but didn’t get another first down and punted.

The defense, however, forced another three-and-out series by Mills and the offense got it back and got back into rhythm. After one first down to the 45, Sylvan Hills (3-3, 1-2) perfectly executed the flea flicker, with quarterback Ryan Lumpkin taking the pitchback and hitting White with a 55-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-0 with 10 minutes left in the second quarter.

The Comets managed a couple of first downs on its next drive, but linebacker Ty Compton intercepted a pass and the Bears took over on their own 45. A few plays later, Youngblood got loose for a 25-yard touchdown run. Mendoza made it 28-0 with 6:03 until halftime.

Mills (1-5, 0-3) managed one first down, but a second was wiped out by a penalty for an illegal forward pass when Taydrean Ford was beyond the line of scrimmage when he released the ball.

That forced another punt, the Comets’ special teams woes continued. The punt traveled just 4 yards, and the Bears took over on the Mills 36.

This time it was Lumpkin to Payton Terry in the corner of the end zone for the score that invoked the mercy rule. Mendoza made the all-important fifth extra point with 1:11 to go until intermission.

Sylvan Hills played mostly junior varsity players throughout the second half. Mills drove down the field and scored on the first possession of the second half. The Bears then turned it over on downs at midfield.

After one first down, Ford scrambled 30 yards to the 15-yard line, and a roughing the passer penalty on the next play set up first and goal. Ford later scored on a scramble to make it 35-14 at the end of the third quarter.

Sylvan Hills junior slotback Jamir Shutes scored on a 25-yard run to set the final margin with 20 seconds remaining in the game.