SPORTS >>Big runs, pick six lead to Bear win
By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor
It mattered little how well Sylvan Hills played, or even whether or not it won, but the Bears won their regular-season finale easily, beating Jonesboro 35-7 and enacting the mercy rule about halfway through the third quarter.
Sylvan Hills dominated the Hurricane in every facet of the game. Two turnovers kept the score from being worse, but it was still an easy night for the Bears, who will begin preparation this week for El Dorado, which visits Blackwood Field in Sherwood for the first round of the class 6A playoffs.
Bears quarterback Hunter Miller had a hand in all five touchdowns. He threw for three scores, ran one in and returned an interception for another.
Sylvan Hills put together a nice drive on its first possession. The Bears drove steadily to the Jonesboro 1-yard line, but coughed it up and lost the ball going into the end zone.
The first quarter ended with no score, but Sylvan Hills changed that quickly.
After another defensive stop, the Bear offense went backwards nine yards on the first two plays. On third and 19, Miller hooked up with Jacob Clark for a 42-yard scoring pass and Stephan Kettle hit the extra point to make it 7-0 with 9:50 left in the half.
Jonesboro fumbled on its next possession and Sylvan Hills covered near midfield. Miller then ran 50 yards to the 1-yard line, and snuck in on first goal to put the Bears up by two scores with seven minutes left in the half.
A blitz of interceptions ensued over the next three drives.
Jonesboro put together a nice drive, but it ended when Julien Broner stepped in front of a Carter Callahan pass at the Bear 2-yard line and returned the pick 73 yards to the Jonesboro 25. On the very next play, Sylvan Hills gave it right back when Miller was picked off.
Two plays later, Miller atoned for his mistake, intercepting a Callahan pass and returning it 39 yards for the score. Kettle’s extra point made it 21-0 with 50 seconds left in the half.
The Bears took the momentum into the break and carried it onto the field in the third quarter. Sylvan Hills got the ball to start the second half, and went 58 yards in four plays. Miller had runs of 16 and 30 on the drive, and he scored from five yards out to make it 28-0 with 9:50 left in the third quarter.
Bear defender Casey Cerrato then got Sylvan Hills’ third pick of the game deep in Jonesboro territory. A few plays later, Miller scampered 23 yards for the score. Kettle’s fifth extra point made it a 35-point game and enacted the mercy rule with 5:30 left in the third.
Jonesboro finally got on the board with four minutes left in the game when Montello Thomas ran nine yards for the score.
The win was the sixth straight for Sylvan Hills and lifted the Bears to 6-4 overall and 6-1 in league play. They will take their No. 2 seed from the 6A-East into next week’s playoff game against the Wildcats, the third seed from the 6A-South Conference.