Unlike the first week, the Sylvan Hills Bears were ready to play against Hot Springs Lakeside in their home opener last week.
After a 44-7 loss to Little Rock Catholic in their season-opener, the Bears (1-1) wasted no time in jumping out to a 35-8 first-half lead over the Rams (0-2). Propelled by Deon Youngblood’s 256 rushing yards, Sylvan Hills skirted to a 48-22 triumph.
“We came ready to play and took care of the ball,” Sylvan Hills Coach Jim Withrow said. “In the first week, we didn’t show up. I don’t understand that especially when you get to this point.”
Withrow was especially pleased that the defense forced turnovers and had three fumble recoveries. The special teams were also effective with a fumble recovery on a kickoff and a blocked punt.
“We are finally starting to get all our players together,” Withrow said. “Finally, we are starting to gel.”
Youngblood piled up his 256 yards on 18 carries and scored four rushing touchdowns. He had scoring jaunts of 67 and 65 yards in addition to one and three yards. He also caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Lumpkin. Lumpkin also threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Ty Compton and finished with 65 yards on 8-of-14 passing. Compton was the leading tackler with five. Keelen Stanley and AJ Ben had four each.
“We took care of the ball,” Withrow said. “We did a much better job after stinking it up the first week. We need to shore up some loose ends.”
In their last non-conference matchup Friday, the Bears host former Pulaski County School District foe Jacksonville. The Titans defeated Little Rock Mills, 25-21, in the season-opener and lost to Little Rock Catholic, 34-17, last week. Catholic is a common opponent between the two.
“It’s a rivalry game, and all the kids know each other,” Withrow said. “The coaches knew each other, and everybody knows each other. We want to win this one bad.”