After two consecutive conference losses, Sylvan Hills did what it needed to against Little Rock Mills last Friday.
The Bears (3-3, 1-2 5A-Central) jumped out to a 35-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 42-14 triumph. The victory kept Sylvan Hills in the picture for a playoff spot. Going into Friday’s matchup with Pulaski Academy (6-0, 3-0), the Bears are fifth in the 5A-Central standings.
“I think we had some lasting effect from the Little Rock Christian game,” Sylvan Hills Coach Jim Withrow. “We anticipated going in that we needed to win to give ourselves a chance. My deal was to score 35 points before half and give everybody a chance to play which we did.”
Deon Youngblood amassed 138 of the Bears’ 254 rushing yards on 13 carries. He scored one touch-down and also threw a 13-yard touchdown to Omari Hervey for the Bears’ first score. Quarterback Ryan Lumpkin threw for 92 of Sylvan Hills’ 105 passing yards on 6-of-9 passing with two touchdowns. Devante White made one reception for a 45-yard touchdown while Payton Terry had a 7-yard touch-down catch. The other two scores came on Alex Flores’ one-yard run and Jamir Shutes’ 24-yard scamper.
Pulaski Academy (6-0), one of three teams with a 3-0 league mark, visits Sylvan Hills on Friday. The Bru-ins are coming off an 86-56 victory over Little Rock Christian last week. In six games, Pulaski Academy has scored 382 points and given up 153. Until last week, the most points the Bruins allowed in a game was 21 three times. They average 63.66 points a contest.
“We can’t give up the big play and need to move the ball down the field,” Withrow said. “They also bring the onside kick into play, and we worked on that last spring and during the summer. Kickoff re-turns become a major play.”
Regardless of what happens Friday, the Bears need to have a good performance going into the last three games of the year. Little Rock Parkview, one of the 3-0 teams, faces Little Rock Christian this week and still has Pulaski Academy and Little McClellan, both 3-0, on its schedule. The Bears face Parkview in two weeks. Last year against the Bruins, Sylvan Hills led by four points in the third quarter before losing, 35-23.
“We’ll be ready to play and don’t think we are afraid to play that game,” Withrow said. “In our confer-ence, everyone is so different but the ones in the conference the longest are used to each other.”