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Bears Beat Marshfield 26-12; Will Host Forsyth Friday Night

Stephen Copeland scored three second-half touchdowns for the Ava Bears last Friday night at Marshfield to give the Bears a 26-12 non-conference win.
The Bears will host their home opener this week with Forsyth which is in its inaugural season of varsity football. The Panthers played Kansas City Northeast last Saturday and won 38-0.
Last Friday’s game turned out to be a marathon event, ending at 11 o’clock due to an hour and a half weather delay.
The two teams went to the locker room at halftime tied at 6-6.
When play resumed just before 10 p.m. Marshfield received the opening kickoff of the half but fumbled the ball 2 minutes into the quarter and Ava recovered at the Marshfield 32-yard line.
Despite a series of penalties that had the Bears in a 3rd-and-32 at the Ava 46, Copeland made a nice run to the Marshfield 30, then scored from 25 yards out with 7:11 on the third quarter clock. The 2-point attempt failed, but the Bears held a 12-6 lead and would not trail again.
Still holding to the narrow 12-6 lead, the Bears started the fourth quarter in Marshfield territory.
Quarterback Caleb Johnson completed a pass to Joe Balassone for a 1st-and-goal at the 7-yard line, and Copeland, a junior, ran it in from there with 11:35 showing on the clock. Copeland added the 2-point conversion to increase Ava’s lead to 20-6.
Marshfield brought the ensuing kickoff out to the Blue Jays’ 28 yard line but netted only one yard on the drive before punting the ball back to Ava which took over in Marshfield territory at the 43-yard line. From there, Copeland would scamper 57 yards to another score with 9:40 remaining, and when Johnson’s kick failed the Bears were holding a 26-6 lead.
With 1:36 left in the game, Marshfield’s quarterback, Brock Utecht completed a pass to Brooks Espy for a 67-yard touchdown to create the final score of 26-12.
The Blue Jays took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter on a 15-yard touchdown run by Jason Whittington. A bad snap from center resulted in the failed PAT at 4:47 and the first quarter would end with Marshfield leading.
The Bears missed a scoring opportunity with 4 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter when they drove all the way to the Marshfield 1-yard line before turning the ball over on downs.
Marshfield got out of that hole with a long run by Brennan Espy who picked up a first down at the Blue Jays’ 40-yard line, but Marshfield would be forced to punt the ball away to set up Ava’s score that would tie the game before the half ended.
Ava’s first scoring drive would cover 48 yards and climaxed with a 19-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Johnson to senior Joey Swofford with just under 20 seconds on the clock. Johnson’s kick attempt was blocked and the halftime score stood at 6-6.
Copeland was Ava’s leading rusher Friday night with 129 yards on just eight carries, three touchdowns and one 2-point conversion.
The Bears had 285 rushing yards and 53 passing for total offense of 338 yards.
Defensively, the Bears were led by sophomore Josh Bray with seven tackles, two for loss yardage, and Johnson who had five tackles and three quarterback sacks.
Ava JV Football Monday, Aug. 21
Ava 12
Willow Springs 8