On paper, one might not be able to find progression inside the football program at Sylvan Hills High School in 2013.
But indeed, the Bears were ahead of 2012 before they even took the field against Vilonia in 2013.
How is that possible?
The Bears had stability, which is something they didn’t achieve last season. That stability, primarily at the quarterback position, made this team better than last year before they ever played a snap.
Head coach Jim Withrow said before the season ever started that he could see an appreciable difference in how his quarterback Tra Doss was not only throwing the football, but how he was carrying himself and commanding the huddle. He was becoming a leader.
Doss led the offense with a nice group of backs and receivers, and despite not having a deep offensive line, was able to use his speed and elusiveness to keep plays alive.
And the Bears won consistently.
Dealing a crushing defeat to Little Rock Christian was the tone setter for the conference season and a bounce back win after losing at Newport.
The win at Mills was arguably the season’s biggest win while the loss to Helena-West Helena hurt the most if you don’t count the playoff loss to Hope.
If there is a red flag for this team is that they still have trouble making long trips. Three of their four total losses came on road trips to Newport, Helena-West Helena and Hope.
This talented team has one more year to make their mark. Even if the Bears can’t count themselves among the state title teams next season, a semifinals appearance next season wouldn’t be too far fetched.
I’m sure that Withrow and the Bears want even more.