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SYLVAN HILLS FOOTBALL Bears need win for shot at 5A playoff spot

They kept pace in the first half, but lagged in the second.

The Sylvan Hills Bears looked fine in the first half, even though they were down 28-17 at halftime, but the Pulaski Academy Bruins left the Bears stuck in the mud in a 57-24 win.

The Bears got a pair of touchdowns from Tra Doss, one on a five-yard run and another on a 43-yard strike to Nathan Thomas.

Phillip Ward’s 28-yard field goal rounded out the first half scoring for the Bears.

“We made plays,” said head coach Jim Withrow. “They just kept doing what they were doing and we didn’t.”

Ashton Brown’s five-yard TD in the second half was all the Bears could muster in an effort to keep pace with a very high-powered Bruin’s offense that scored two touchdowns in the last seven minutes of the game.

Withrow lamented a bit of what could have been in the first half.

“We dropped two touchdown passes in the first half,” Withrow said. “We should have been tied at halftime.”

But it just wasn’t meant to be and thanks to a couple of oddities in other stadiums, the Bears may be on the outside looking in at the playoff picture.

Close losses by Helena-West Helena to Little Rock Christian, and by Jacksonville to Little Rock Mills puts the Bears in need of help from Little Rock McClellan to get into the post season.

That help also has to come in concert with a Bears’ win against North Pulaski.

“We need some help,” Withrow said.

Even without a playoff appearance, the Bears have a chance to end the year with a winning record and playing their best football.

“Other coaches have told us that aside from PA, that we have been playing the best football in the conference lately,” Withrow said.

With a win this week, the Bears would finish with a winning record.

FUTURE LOOKING BRIGHT

Looking at Sylvan Hills’ roster, there is a noticeable trend. There are several sophomores that are either starting or majorly contributing.

Winning this week against North Pulaski would give a young group a winning season even if they don’t get a chance to go to the playoffs.

By position the Bears are using sophomores at quarterback, center, guard, tight end, three at receiver and two at running back.

The Bears are 4-2 behind Tra Doss at quarterback. Ashton Brown has better than 840 yards rushing and didn’t play his first full game until week three. Marcus Long is also getting time on offense while playing on special teams and offense.

Withrow said guys such as Elijah Howard and Chris Dailey will also be in the mix next season.

“We are going to be experienced,” Withrow said. “It’s going to depend on how good our offseason is and if our guys buy into their roles.”

“Do they accept their roles,” Withrow said, “or do they look for others?”

But the offseason is the offseason and the Bears aren’t quite there yet.

They have one more task at hand, and that’s beating North Pulaski, and if things fall right, maybe a playoff game.

Regardless, the future is still two weeks away.

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