It was messy, both figuratively and literally.

Hurricane Isaac’s rainy presence cause the Sylvan Hills’ season opener to be moved up to last Thursday at 6 p.m. But Isaac was determined to make an impact and he certainly did in a 7-0 loss by the Bears to the Vilonia Eagles in not so condusive conditions for football.

"There were way too many fumbles," said Sylvan Hills coach Jim Withrow.

14 to be exact. One, in particular, was very painful

A fumble off a toss sweep on their own five yard line and an inadverdant kick in their own endzone plus a recovery by Vilonia accounted for the game’s only score.

"The conditions, I’d say, accounted for about 50 percent of the fumbles," Withrow said. "Our quarterback rolls out on a curl and he just drops the football."

The messy condition limited both teams, but especially Sylvan Hills’ offense.

"We would get a little drive going," Withrow said, "then something would happen. We weren’t able to run a lot of the things we wanted to run."

Withrow ackowledged that before going to Hot Springs to take on the Lakeside Rams, his club is going to have to tighten some things up a little bit.

"There are some things that we can do better," Withrow said. "We have to get better before conference."

The Rams, who defeated Little Rock Christian 41-27 in their opener, run a spread offense and a three-man front on defense and blitz from several different spots.

The Bears will try to build on a performance that yeilded no points led by Jaleel Hampton’s 20 tackles.

Sylvan Hills will get a chance to play in normal conditions, at a normal pace and with their entire offense at their disposal. Hopefully, it’s enough for a win.


Withrow has some favorable views about the sudden change of schedule of his season opener against Vilonia. The game was pushed up from Friday at 7 p.m. to Thursday at 6, a change Withrow said he wouldn’t mind seeing again.

"I kinda liked kicking off at 6," Withrow said. "You aren’t sitting around all that time and we finish early so you can sit in here and break down film."

The shift in date and time was due to the imminent arrival of what was left of Hurricane Isaac and while keeping the game on Friday may not have been possible, nobody beat Isaac to the punch by playing Thursday.

"The rain was an ordeal," Withrow said.

The game was plagued by 14 fumbles according to Withrow.

The Bears were relegated to the run game after heavy rain made it nearly impossible to throw the football. Not only did it affect the physical aspect of the game, but the mental as well.

"We coached different on Thursday," Withrow said.

Withrow said he chose to go for it on 4th and two inside his own 20 because if he punted into Isaac’s stiff wind he thought it might go backwards.

The Bears play the Hot Springs Lakeside Rams in their first road test of the 2012 season.

"We are gonna have rise up and play well," Withrow said.