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Bears Hold Off Wildcats In the Rain; Win 14-12

The Ava Bears took a 14-0 lead to the dressing room at halftime at Rogersville last Friday night and held on to beat the Wildcats 14-12.

Rogersville is now 0-2 while the Bears improved their record to 1-1.

Ava will host Mtn. Grove at Harlan Stadium this Friday night to open the conference schedule for both teams. The Panthers are 2-0 after non-SCA wins over Rogersville and Hollister.

Mtn. Grove is playing for a new head coach this year and may be better than many people thought they would be.

Ava Coach Dan Swofford said they have a good quarterback and three good runningbacks. Friday night’s game should be a real battle, and the early forecast sounds like weather could be a factor again this week.

Several teams in southwest Missouri elected to play games on Thursday night last week, getting ahead of the impending rain coming in the backlash of Hurricane Isaac.

When the Bears and Wildcats took the field on Friday night, a light drizzle was falling. But as the game got under way the rain picked up and heavy rain fell during the remainder of the contest.

Rogersville’s field held up surprisingly well, but by the second half the ball was slippery and hard to hold onto, causing numerous fumbles by both teams.

The Bears took the opening kickoff and ran four plays before punting the ball away.

Rogersville started at the Wildcats’ 35-yard line and on the first play from scrimmage senior Cody Chaney hit the line, recovered and changed directions, and picked up a first down at the Ava 22.

On the same drive the Wildcats would get all the way to the Ava 2, but a holding penalty moved Rogersville back to a 1st-and-18 at the 30.

Rogersville would work the ball back to the 9-yard line but an offsides call would move them back once more to the 14. Ava’s defense stopped Rogersville at the 10-yard line on fourth down and there the Bears took over with 5:29 left in the first period.

Ava’s Kyle Clinkingbeard picked up a first down at the Bears’ 25 and quarterback Ben Loge completed a pass to Caleb Miles that came up inches short of the first down.

On 4th-and-inches at the Ava 34, Clinkingbeard got the call again and broke a 40-yard gainer to the Rogersville 26. Clinkingbeard picked up another first down at the 15, then with 57 seconds left in the first period, the Ava senior scored from 8 yards out.

Loge booted the extra point to put the Bears on top 7-0.

As the second quarter got under way, the Ava defense stopped the Wildcats on fourth down once again to give the Bears the ball at the Ava 19 with 8:39 left in the first half.

Rogersville’s next series would result in a punt that would set up Ava’s second score on the night.

Chance Boyd received the punt and downed the ball at the Ava 8-yard line with 2:51 on the first half clock. From there, senior Caleb Miles would get the call and showed his break-away speed, outrunning the field for a 92-yard touchdown with 2:37 left.

Loge again booted the extra point to put the Bears on top 14-0 at the half.

Ava’s first possession of the second half resulted in a fumble that would set up Rogersville’s first touchdown.

Ava took over at the Bears’ 25-yard line after Rogersville came up short of the first down. Ava fumbled once, but Clinkingbeard was able to recover the ball and retain possession for the Bears for a 2nd-and-16 at the 19-yard line. On 3rd-and-17 at the 18-yard line, the snap from center was mishandled for the third consecutive fumble and this time Rogersville would recover for a 1st-and-10 at the Ava 14. After converting a 1st-and-goal at the Ava 3-yard line, Chaney scored on a 3-yard run with 5:41 left in the third quarter.

John Plaster’s kick failed, and the Ava lead was 14-6.

Rogersville would score again at 3:21 in the fourth quarter when quarterback Evan Gruener connected with Brock Buzbee for a 56-yard touchdown pass play. The Ava defense all but had Buzbee stopped near mid-field, but let him get away and go all the way for the score.

Trailing by two points, the Wildcats went for two to tie and the pass fell incomplete.

Rogersville lined up for an on-side kick but Clinkingbeard fielded the ball at the 25-yard line and returned it to the 38, and the Bears would attempt to run the final 3:18 off the clock for the win.

Clinkingbeard picked up a first down at mid-field, then moved into Rogersville territory. A 12-yard gainer gave the Bears a first down at the Rogersville 29 with 1:29 left.

The Bears still had the ball when the clock ticked down to under one minute, but with 46 seconds left, the snap from center was mishandled once again and Rogersville recovered at the Wildcats’ 25-yard line.

Rogersville went to work with no timeouts left but were unable to get the first down to retain possession, and Ava got the ball back with 13 seconds left. Loge and his center, Aaron Box, executed one good snap and Loge took a knee to seal the 14-12 win for the Bears.

The Bears had total offense of 251 yards Friday night, with all but four coming on the ground.

Clinkingbeard carried 28 times for 156 yards and Miles had four carries for 99 yards.

Jesse Dean had eight tackles with three for losses. Buster Davis also had eight tackles, and two for losses, and Dylan Stout had seven tackles, including two for losses.