Leader Blues

Friday, August 18, 2006

SPORTS >>Bears progressing nicely

IN SHORT: Sylvan Hills has had a good preseason, but a thin line has been a concern.

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

Sylvan Hills football is coming along fairly well. That’s about all one can gather from talking with head coach Ron Sebastian, who always takes the cautious approach when it comes to preseason speculation.

The Bears have about 56 players currently practicing with the team. After nearly three full weeks of practice, most of those who are going to drop out have done so.

One of the specifics Sebastian talked about was his concern about the Bears’ interior.
There are only 17 lineman on the squad, the lack of depth could mean people playing on offense and defense, but not right away.

“We’re thin on the line but we’re not going to play anybody both ways at least until conference,” Sebastian said. “It’s too hard on ‘em this early and in this kind of heat.”

The heat has played a role, as it has for everyone this year, in the Bears’ progress. Like many teams, Sylvan Hills has gone with one-a-day practices, but have practiced for four hours at a time with several water breaks throughout.

The heat was a drag on progress early, but as players conditioned, practices have been more and more productive.
“When we first got out here the heat bothered them a little bit,” Sebastian said. “They’ve worked hard though and gotten through it. I think practices have been going pretty well.”

Sylvan Hills certainly isn’t taking the easy route into conference play. The 6A-East Bears have three 7A-Central teams lined up in the first three weeks of the season.

A bright spot for Sylvan Hills is a bevy of talent returning in the skill positions. Those that are being counted on have performed well so far in practice.

Junior quarterback Hunter Miller has been very solid making decisions and hitting his receivers.
Tailback T.J. Shelton and fullback Davon Neal have also looked good running the ball and catching passes out of the backfield.