The Bears hung with the Bruins for three quarters.
Sylvan Hills coach Jim Withrow preached all week about getting to the fourth quarter. The Bears did indeed get into the fourth quarter with a chance to shock the state.
But in that fourth quarter, the Bears fizzled and suffered their third loss of the season to the Pulaski Academy Bruins
"We got to that fourth quarter," Withrow said, "and that was it. We fumbled on the one on fourth down. They scored and we just couldn’t answer."
An interception return deep into Pulaski Academy territory and a subsequent touchdown by Tra Doss got the Bears to within three points at 28-25. But that is as close as the Bears would get. Pulaski Academy scored three TDs in the fourth to pull away.
"Just couldn’t get anything done in the fourth quarter," Withrow said.
The loss, though disappointing, doesn’t diminish the likelihood off finishing with a 7-3 record. The Bears’ playoff slotting will come down to Helena-West Helena’s matchup with Mills, but the Bears have had a spot locked up for a couple of weeks.
Now all Withrow has to do is not allow his team to look too far ahead and focus on league doormat North Pulaski, who Withrow says can’t be overlooked.
"They’ve always got a good back," Withrow said.
Last season the Bears needed a win at home against the Falcons and a little help to make the playoffs. They got what they needed and moved on.
With their destiny locked in, the Bears’ biggest opponent may be themselves.
"We just got to go out there and play," Withrow said
While a win against Pulaski Academy would have shaken the playoff landscape a bit, it wouldn’t have assured the Bears of a conference title. A loss to Helena took care of that.
The 5A-Central postseason players are set; their positioning is still in the air. A win by Mills will put the Bears in the fourth slot, while a Helena victory will place the Bears in third.
Withrow isn’t picky about where his team is placed, as long as they are placed. And this year, the Bears didn’t have to have any help.