Saturday, October 28, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Bears’ defense powers way to huge victory over Parkview

Leader sports editor

Beating by two touchdowns the team that had just taken the No. 1 ranked 5A team to the last second seemed like a tall order, but the Sylvan Hills football team pulled it off. The Bears went to Little Rock on Thursday and beat Parkview High 47-21 at War Memorial Stadium.

Sylvan Hills had to win the game to still have a chance to make the playoffs, and needed to win by at least 13 points in order to maximize its tiebreaker total in case of a three-way tie for fourth place, which could still happen.

“It was big,” said Sylvan Hills coach Jim Withrow. I’m proud of our defense. That’s what did it for us. Cole miller, Omari Hervey, Brenann Shelton and those guys, they played huge. We played (Garrett) Gilbert on defense tonight. We put (Anthony) Chairez at defensive end a little bit and that all really helped us. We just got to the point tonight where we decided we got to go all the way in because if we lose, we’re out.”

The Sylvan Hills defense forced five Parkview turnovers, blocked a punt and gave the offense a short field numerous times. Only one of Sylvan Hills’ seven touchdowns came on a drive that started on its own end of the field. The other six touchdowns came on drives of 11, 15, 49, 47, 6 and 32 yards.

The first big play came when Hervey blocked a punt after the defense forced a three-and-out. Payton Terry covered it at the Patriot 11-yard line. Deon Youngblood got all that in one play, taking the jet sweep left in for the score with 9:50 to play in the first quarter.

After the kickoff, Parkview coughed it up again when Gilbert got to quarterback Geary Allmon III and knocked the ball loose on the first play of the drive. Linebacker Deviontae Muldrow covered that loose ball on the 15-yard line.

Two Youngblood carries set up first and goal at the 4, and Ty Compton did the rest. A bobbled snap caused the extra point get blocked, leaving the score 13-0 with 9:10 still left in the opening frame.

The Patriots got two first downs on its next drive, but a sack by Gilbert on third and long forced a punt from midfield. There was also a holding penalty that Sylvan Hills declined, but the officials spotted the ball back at the original line of scrimmage instead of where the sack took place. That 6-yard error by the officials was big on Sylvan Hills’ next play.

The Bears started on own 5-yard line, instead of the 11, and Lumpkin was nearly sacked in the end zone. Instead, he tried to throw the ball as he was being tackled to avoid a safety. Parkview linebacker Cameron Cowan came down with it and danced into the end zone. The extra point made it 13-7 with 4:34 left in the first.

The Bears went three and out on their next possession, but Allmon fumbled it away again after a 9-yard gain up the middle. Safety Darius Waddell covered it at the 49, setting up another scoring drive for Sylvan Hills.

The key play came on second and 7. Youngblood took the wildcat snap and headed forward. He stopped, leaped and threw to Alex Curry, who had sneaked downfield for a 26-yard gain. Two Youngblood carries later the Bears led 20-7 with 1:37 still to go in the first quarter, and the scoring still wasn’t done.

Parkview’s Zachery Smith took the kickoff near the sideline at the 15-yard line. Cut straight across the field and faked a handoff to Tyrell Hadley. The whole Sylvan Hills kicking team went for the fake, and Smith ran untouched down the east sideline for the score with 1:20 left in the first period.

The Bears answered with their longest drive of the game, starting at their own 23 and using seven plays to go that distance for the score. More than half of it came on the first play, when Compton went around the left end for 45 yards. Youngblood got the last 8 yards on first and goal, and his third touchdown of the game gave Sylvan Hills a 27-14 lead.

Sylvan Hills stopped Parkview on the next drive, but gave it back with a very short field four plays later. The Bears went for it on fourth and 5 from the 20-yard line, but Lumpkin and Youngblood fumbled the handoff exchange and the play gained just three yards.

Parkview started from there and needed five plays for the score. Allmon sneaked in from the 1 to make it 27-21 with 2:37 left in the first half.

Youngblood put the Bears in a good spot with a 40-yard kickoff return to the Parkview 47, and Lumpkin hit Terry for 25 more on first down to the 22. Youngblood ran for 19 to set up first and goal at the 3. He got one more on first down and Compton got the rest. Tito Mendoza made his fourth extra point to send the game to 34-21 at halftime.

Sylvan Hills got it first in the third quarter and got two first downs before another fumble on fourth down gave Parkview a short field.

The Patriots drove from their own 43 to the Bear 14, but missed a 31-yard field goal with 5:20 on the clock.

The two teams continued to trade possessions until Sylvan Hills’ Ellion Dison snuffed out a screen pass for an interception and returned it to the 6-yard line. Youngblood got that on one carry with 21 seconds to go in the third quarter. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score 40-21.

Two plays into Parkview’s next drive, Waddell came up with his second turnover when he picked off a deep pass. He returned it deep into Parkview territory as well, but the return was called back for an illegal block and the Bears failed to score on the drive.

It was no matter. Waddell got his third turnover and his second interception on the very next drive, setting the offense up at the Parkview 32. This time two Youngblood carries and one Youngblood pass combined for the final touchdown of the game. On third and 9 from the 19-yard line, Youngblood took the pitch from Lumpkin, stopped and threw to Terry who was along in the end zone for the score with 5:20 to go in the game.

Waddell credited the coaches’ halftime adjustments with his two interceptions.

“My coach told me to stay back to cover the deep ball and just come up and help with the run if I had to,” said Waddell. “We always have the mindset throughout the week to do what it takes, and that’s what we did.”

Sylvan Hills (5-4, 3-3) finished with 301 total yards. Youngblood had 29 carries for 143 yards and four touchdowns, as well as 2 for 2 passing for 45 yards and one touchdown.

Parkview (4-5, 3-3) had just 209 total yards, and just 60 in the second half.