The Sylvan HIlls Bears are on a bit of a roller coaster ride. One week they win big, the next week they lose big.
Last Friday was the week they were on the upswing as they hosted a relatively unknown West Helena squad. True to form the Bears whipped the Cougars 33-14. Tra Doss had three touchdown.
Marlon Cleamons also had 41-yard run and Ashton Brown scored on a 23-yard play.
“We executed well,” said coach Jim Withrow.
Another key factor is that the Bears didn’t turn the ball over which was a paradox to last week’s turnover riddled game at Jacksonville.
The Bears’ defense also played well holding the Cougars to just one touchdown throughout much of the game until the final play.
The Cougars’ two-point conversion failed setting the final score.
Withrow did say that the two-point conversion cost his team a backup linebacker. Walker Merriweather injured his knee on that play and is lost for the year.
The Bears now focus their attention toward Little Rock McClellan
“They are very fast,” Withrow said. “They’ve got guys that can turn a negative play into a touchdown.”
Withrow may not just be without a backup linebacker. Three of his best contributors are questionable for Friday’s game.
Cleamons’ concussion as well as Kylon Wade’s and Matt Thompson’s injuries could hurt the Bears’ chances at a two-game winning streak.
“We’ll know more as the week progresses,” Withrow said. “We can’t really tell.”
When Withrow talked about his expectations for his Sylvan Hills Bears as far back as spring practice, his goals were simple. Make the playoffs.
“If we were to actually get in and make the playoffs,” Withrow said, “it would be just huge for our program.”
The idea wasn’t far fetched, although the way things have shaked out hasn’t been exactly how he probably would have scripted it ahead of time.
Withrow thought he would have the stability of a senior quarterback. Instead, he relies on a playmaking, mobile sophomore.
What he did envision was a close race to garner that elusive fourth playoff berth. The Bears are in the position at this moment that if they take care of their business, they will play beyond week 10.
“We win, were in,” said Withrow. “If we win two of our last three, then we have to rely on tie breakers.”
Withrow said he needs to not only win games, he needs to win them by 13 points, the max allowed for accrued points for tie breaking purposes.
The last legs of the playoff mission begins this Friday at Little Rock McClellan.
NOT ROAD WARRIORS
Call them what you will. Jekyll and Hyde. Oscar and Felix. The fact is the Sylvan Hills Bears act differently on the road than they do at home.
At home, the Bears win, sometimes decisively. On the road, they lose, almost every time decisively.
“On the road, we are attrocious,” said Withrow. “We are horrendous.”
Part of it is youth. With as many sophomores as Withrow plays, the pattern is understandable and nearly predictable.
But Withrow says it’s time to grow up a little.
“We need to get a signature win,” said Withrow.
Referring to Nolan Richardson’s improbable comeback against SMU in the infancy of his Arkansasas basketball coaching career, Withrow said his team needs an effort of that magnitude to get it over the hump.
This week’s game is at Little Rock McClellan, but the Bears can’t afford to lose again if they want to keep their postseason hopes alive.
Maybe there is a solution.
“Maybe I should let them wear their blue jerseys and let them drive to the game,” said Withrow.