Aurora scored a touchdown in every quarter here Friday night and defeated the Ava Bears 27-6 in the opening game of the 2012 football season.
Coach Daniel Swofford has to feel good about the effort shown by his Bears on Friday night, even with the loss.
The Bears played hard from start to finish, made few mistakes, had no fumbles and gave a very good Aurora football team a real battle in the first game of the season.
Led by senior quarterback Clayton Sumner and 185-pound senior runningback Everett Basham, the Houn Dawgs scored first at 6:27 in the first quarter on an 11-yard run by junior William Blankenship. Cody Coatney kicked the extra point.
The Bears countered with their only score on the night at 6:49 in the second quarter to trim the Houn Dawg lead to 7-6 when the point-after attempt failed.
The Bears’ touchdown came on an unlikely deflected pass from junior quarterback Ben Loge that fell into the hands of wide receiver Austin Gastineau. The Loge-to-Gastineau touchdown play went 27 yards for Ava’s longest gain of the night.
The Houn Dawgs held a 14-6 halftime lead after quarterback Sumner scored on a 1-yard plunge with 2:15 left in the second quarter. Again, Coatney added the extra point.
Aurora would score on its first possession of the third quarter on a 19-yard run by Basham. The point-after was no good after a high snap from center.
Aurora’s final score of the game came with 1:51 left when Sumners scored on a 1-yard keeper. Coatney’s PAT gave the Houn Dawgs the final margin of 27-6.
The Bears had two opportunities to cut into the Aurora lead in the second half.
With just over 7 minutes left in the third period, the Bears got to the Aurora 7-yard line on a run by senior Caleb Miles who carried eight times for 34 yards on the night.
Miles also had a pass interception for the Ava defense.
On the next play, Ava’s leading rusher, Kyle Clinkingbeard was caught in the backfield for a loss to the 11, and the Bears would turn the ball over to Aurora there after two incomplete pass attempts.
Clinkingbeard carried 17 times for 70 yards Friday night and had one pass reception for 13 yards.
As the chains were moved to transition from the third to fourth quarter, the Bears were on a drive that would go all the way to the 1-yard line. However, a procedure flag moved the Bears back to the 6-yard line and the Bears were unable to score, turning the ball back over to Aurora with 8:04 on the clock.
This Friday the Bears travel to Rogersville to face the defending state champion Wildcats. Rogersville lost to Mtn. Grove last Friday night, 39-21, so this will be an interesting match-up. The Wildcats could be down from their loss or they could be looking for revenge on anybody, with the Bears being the unfortunate victim.
Coach Swofford says he expects Rogersville to play a better game this week than they did last week when they were “manhandled” by Mtn. Grove. Although the Wildcats lost their best runningback and most of their interior line to graduation, they have their quarterback and receivers back this year.
Ava had total offense of 167 yards against Aurora, including 60 yards passing. Gastineau caught two passes for 39 yards and the touchdown.
Defensively, Jesse Dean led the Bears with 11 tackles. Chance Boyd had nine tackles, Buster Davis eight, and Kolton Davis and Colton Akers six tackles each.