They never win on the road. They always fall behind and have to come back when they do win.
Both of those trends were bucked in Sylvan Hills’ 21-6 win over Little Rock McClellan Friday night.
Last week, head coach Jim Withrow was willing to do just about anything to help his team win on the road.
“Maybe we should wear blue jerseys and let the team drive to the game,” Withrow jokingly said.
With white jersey’s and after a short bus ride to Geyer Springs Road, the Bears pulled out a 21-6 win over the Lions thanks to a pair of touchdowns by quarterback Tra Doss, one rushing and one passing to Kylon Wade and a rushing touchdown by Ashton Brown.
Brown finished with 144 yards rushing.
Withrow noted, though his team got off to a slow strart, it was a defensive play that may have flipped the switch.
“We looked bad in warm ups,” Withrow said.
But when Wade made a bone-jarring hit in the first half, it seemed to have fired up the entire team.
“I think it really made a difference,” Withrow said.
McClellan’s speed, an aspect that Withrow was admittedly worried about, only made headway in one series.
Akee Johnson scored on a 10-yard run after a long pass play set up Akee’s carry.
“It was a broken play that set up the touchdown,” Withrow said. “The speed they have is just unbelievable.”
The Sylvan Hills Bears have done well in overcoming two of their shortcomings in the past two weeks.
In wins over Helena-West Helena and Little Rock McClellan, the Bears have committed just one turnover, a fumble by quarterback Tra Doss last week.
Ball security has been a difference in two of Sylvan Hills’ worst losses of the season at Jacksonville and Little Rock Christian.
“We gave away the Jacksonville game,” said Withrow.
But Withrow says he sees improvement in his young team.
“We are playing a lot better,” said Withrow. “We have improved in every facet of the game this season.”
One area of weakness that Withrow doesn’t have much control over is injuries, and his offensive line has been hit yet again.
An already thin group lost Dakota Dalton and Marcus Culbertson to injuries. Dalton suffered a concussion while Culbertson injured his knee.
Backup fullback Chase Pieper also was injured.
Withrow said before the season started that a weakness of his team, other than youth, was the fact that his offensive line couldn’t afford injuries.
The Bears are riding a two-game winning streak going into Friday’s game against Pulaski Academy, who is regarded as arguably the best 5A team in the state.
An understated Jim Withrow said Friday won’t be easy for his young club.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” said Withrow.
Withrow said if the Bears can sustain drives on offense and limit PA’s big plays, then they have a chance.
“We just need to keep it close for as long as possible,” Withrow said, “and not let it get away from us. We need to get settled and give ourselves a chance.”