They couldn’t have asked for a better start.
Tra Doss ran for 224 yards and threw for 95 in a 31-16 win over the Eagles.
Bears coach Jim Withrow said that even though there were a few issues that the Bears have to fix, Withrow was happy to get the season’s first win on the road.
“I won’t toss it back,” Withrow said.
Doss set the tone early with an 84-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
After a heart breaking loss in 2012, the Bears went into Friday’s opener with a sense of maturity and a sense of purpose. It also helps that the quarterback position is stable with Doss.
That wasn’t the case a year ago as inconsistent play caused a shuffling of signal callers a year ago.
What was the carry over on Monday after a big Friday road win?
“It was probably the worst practice of the year,” Withrow said.
Not because of any real hangover or emotional letdown, but Withrow said this Friday’s opponent offer a unique challenge when they take on the Hot Springs Lakeside Rams in their home opener.
“We are used to seeing four man defensive fronts,” Withrow said. “They run what is essentially a 3-3.”
The Rams like to mobilize their outside linebackers making Doss’ task of reading their defense at the line of scrimmage prior to the snap a bit difficult. It also makes blocking calls by the offensive line more difficult as well.
Relying on Doss’ legs once again as well as his ability to make smart decisions and improvise could be a factor in playing against the Rams who are coached by former Arkansas Razorback backup quarterback Jared McBride.
Withrow acknowledged that Friday’s win over the Eagles served as a bit of a mental breakthrough for his team as well as his program.
“We’ve lost to them three times,” Withrow said. “I think we had a bit of a mental block.”
During Friday’s home opener, the Bears will honor players from the 1993 and 2003 teams that both made the state championship games. Those respective classes will be holding reunions this weekend.
Starting off the season with a win, according to Withrow, amps up the atmosphere for those returning. Withrow certainly hopes to have a good showing on Friday and start the season with two straight wins.