The road got them again.
The Sylvan Hills Bears fell behind and couldn’t recover from a 20-0 deficit in their longest road trip of the conference schedule losing their first conference game of the year 28-19 to Helena-West Helena.
“We just got behind early, and couldn’t get back,” coach Jim Withrow said.
Not that the Bears didn’t try. After going into the locker room down 20-0, the lights came on.
Marlon Clemmons got the Bears’ first TD in the third quarter capping off a drive that started with a fumble recovery at the 35.
But the comeback road was just too tough.
The loss, while stinging, wasn’t a total surprise. Withrow said last week that he was a bit concerned by how his team would respond to the road trip, and that the Helena-West Helena had been playing better with the return of some key players.
Withrow said how his team performs on the road is a bit concerning.
“We talked about it,” Withrow said. “We are going to have to go on the road most likely in the playoffs at some point.”
The Bears’ road coma on Friday was similar to their performance at Newport in week three.
Of all the things about last season that the Bears have corrected, road performance remains an issue. It wasn’t until a late season win at Little Rock McClellan did the Bears find a win outside of their own stadium.
Sylvan Hills has been as impressive as anyone in the state keeping a firm grip on the top spot in the 5A-Central along with Pulaski Academy. But the loss could create a three-way logjam at the top if the Bears beat PA.
“There is a way that we can win all three of our games that we have left and still finish third,” Withrow said.
Head to head points spreads among the three teams would make that scenario a reality. The Bears have beaten Little Rock Mills to give them their only loss of the season, but by only one point.
Both the Bears and Mills have the Bruins remaining on their schedule. McClellan and North Pulaski are the other two of the three remaining on Sylvan Hills’ slate.
A playoff appearance seems forgone. Seeding certainly isn’t.