The season is becoming real. No more summer. No more individual workouts. No more team camps. No more preseason.

The Sylvan Hills Bears donned pad twice last week. On Friday, their annual Blue/White game on Friday and traveled to Robinson to take on the Senators in a benefit game.

Head coach Jim Withrow decided to throw a new tailback into the mix on Friday. Tyler Davis got his first look in the backfield while Withrow was impressed with his defensive unit.

"There are some fundamental things that he can do better," Withrow said. "Seemed like we were a little faster on defense."

The Bears came out on Monday against a team they have seen all summer long in team camps.

"I thought our offense played pretty good," Withrow said. "There are some fundamental things we could have done a little bit better."

Withrow was pleased overall with a first time out effort.

Resisting the temptation to overanalyze the sampling, Withrow said his team is very much looking forward to competition that means something.

"You’ve seen everything over and over again," Withrow said, "and I think boredom sets in."

It’s time to start thinking about Vilonia, and Withrow says there are some areas that his team "has a long way to go".

The Bears are a better group of players than what was on the field last year. While it’s unclear if that will translate to wins on Friday night, Withrow said he sees it on the practice field.

"Our scout team is better this year than it was last year," Withrow said.

While that may be considered a small statement, Withrow believes it’s a positive observation that his team’s talent cycle has upgraded from recent years which is something he has said in recent weeks.

Withrow held out four players due to nagging minor injuries, but believes they will return as soon as Tuesday. The Bears will practice through Friday and receive a three-day Labor Day weekend before game week routines begin Tuesday.

That’s when it’s really going to settle in. The season is almost here.