- Featured Stories
- Douglas County
- City of Ava
- General Interest
Friday night’s football game between the SCA rival Ava Bears and Salem Tigers was the hard-fought battle everyone expected it to be. But the trip home would not have been so long for Ava fans if the 14-6 final could have been turned the other way.
All the scoring came in the first half, and both defenses executed strong goal-line stands in the second half to prevent scores from inside the 5-yard line.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier this week for the Bears, as they are on the road, once again, this time to face the powerful Mtn. View-Liberty team. Undefeated in conference play, the Eagles are looking to clinch the conference title this week.
Liberty’s only loss was on the opening week of the season when they lost to Hogan Prep, the No. 1 ranked team in the state.
Coach Dan Swofford said the Eagles use a spread offense, and run the ball very well.
Ava received the opening kick-off Friday night, but on third-and-9 sophomore Kyle Clinkingbeard fumbled the ball away to Salem at the Ava 23-yard line. Salem took advantage of the gift, and at 7:10 in the first quarter Ben Adams scored on a 10-yard run. Kevin Pressley’s kick put the Tigers on top 7-0, and they would never trail.
Salem picked up a big first down on the scoring drive at the Ava 13-yard line after Ava’s defense forced a 4th-and-4 situation at the 17-yard line.
Ava came right back with an 86-yard scoring drive of its own, running 5½ minutes off the game clock and picking up four first downs.
The touchdown came at 11:18 in the second period on an 11-yard pass play from quarterback Garrett Baird to Pete Leonard. Brock Mitchell’s kick was just wide.
The final score of the night came with 23 seconds left in the first half on a 21-yard pass play from Salem quarterback Ryan Smith to Jonathan Hambacker. Pressley’s kick completed the scoring and the Tigers’ 14-6 lead would be the final score of the game.
After the two teams exchanged punts in the third quarter, Salem drove 80 yards and ran more than six minutes off the clock, but was unable to score.
With 50 seconds left on the clock, Ava’s defense forced Salem to turn the ball over on downs at the 1-yard line.
Ava had a chance to tie the game but was unable to score from the 2-yard line.
The Bears used consecutive encroachment calls against Salem to have a first-and-goal at the Salem 6-yard line. Baird completed a pass to Leonard at the 2-yard line with 22 seconds, but the Bears could not penetrate the strong Salem defense. A procedure penalty against the Bears on fourth-and-goal at the 2 gave the Bears one more chance from the Salem 7-yard line, but a Baird-to-Leonard pass fell incomplete and Salem took over on downs.
After a timeout by Salem’s Coach Bill Schuchardt, Tigers quarterback Smith took a knee and let the final 13 seconds tick away.
Taylor Coonts was Ava’s leading rusher, carrying 15 times for 76 yards. Clinkingbeard carried 18 times for 31 yards.
Ava had total rushing of 123 yards and passed for 66, for total offense of 189.
Charles Bruton was again the Bears’ leading tackler with 12, and Coonts had 10 tackles from his defensive position.
The Bears are 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the SCA going into Friday night’s contest.