The Bears are human.
After a pair of impressive wins over the likes of Vilonia and Hot Springs Lakeside, the Sylvan Hills couldn’t get their offense going against Newport and fell 30-13.
In a season where the Bears have had no trouble scoring 30 or 40-plus points, Friday was just different.
The area of weakness was defense according to head coach Jim Withrow.
“We just didn’t tackle well,” Withrow said. “They were more physical than us and we didn’t make enough plays on offense.”
Of course this season has been different if you compare to just 12 months ago. The Bears hit week three of 2012 with an 0-2 record and desperately needing a confidence boosting win. They got a three-point win at home en route to a 5-5 season and a trip to the playoffs.
After two weeks this season they stand just the opposite at 2-1 and face a Little Rock Christian team that mirrors the Bears in many ways from the way they run their team to the parallels of last season.
Asking Withrow last year about the importance of winning against the Warriors, he deemed it critical to making the playoffs. The Bears lost and they sweated their postseason fate right until the season’s final gun. They needed help to get in, and they got it.
But ask Withrow and he’ll likely tell you that he would rather take care of their own business, and reminded his players last Friday about last year in their conference opener.
“It was bad,” Withrow said. “We didn’t play well. We didn’t coach well. We only get 10 of these and we can’t waste them.”
That opportunity presents itself on Friday. The Bears are hosting Little Rock Christian in what is likely to be for a playoff spot. Friday’s game and against Mills will be very important for the Bears and whether or not they make the playoffs and where they may fall into the pecking order.
They will need their playmakers to continue to make the plays that have given them wins. Marlon Clemmons caught a TD pass from Tra Doss on Friday at Newport. Doss rushed for a touchdown. Those two have to continue. The defense has to get better.
The offense was doing well to outscore opponents until Friday night against a solid 4A school.
Little Rock Christian sent the Bears home with a devastating 28-0 loss. Friday is a chance to avenge that loss.
It’s very early. But this game is clearly very important—for both teams.