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The Ava Middle School Bears played the Cabool Bulldogs at Cabool on Thursday, Sept. 8.
The 7th grade Bears evened their record at 1-1 with a 14-0 victory.
The game was scoreless until Ava’s Brandon Johnson rumbled 51 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. The run capped a five-play, 75-yard drive on Ava’s first possession of the second half.
Johnson also ran for the conversion to give the Bears an 8-0 lead.
The Bears scored again midway through the fourth quarter when Jacob Luebbering popped a dive play for a 63-yard touchdown run.
Leading tacklers for the Bears were Colton Skyles with six tackles, along with Lueberring and Johnson with five tackles each. The Ava defensive effort was aided by fumble recoveries by Skyles and Johnson, and a late interception by Kelly McDonald.
The Bears were defeated 28-24 by the Bulldogs in an exciting 8th grade contest. The Bulldogs took advantage of an early Ava turnover and put together an 11-play, 54-yard drive to take an 8-0 first quarter lead. The Bears responded with a seven-play, 59-yard touchdown drive on their next possession.
The drive was capped by a 14-yard run by Caleb McFarlin. McFarlin passed to Zach Hunsaker for the 2-point conversion to tie the score at 8-8 early in the second quarter.
Cabool scored a touchdown late in the first half to extend the lead to 14-8. Cabool would score again on a 70-yard run early in the second half to extend the lead to 20-8. Ava responded with a nine-play, 61-yard drive culminated by a one-yard quarterback sneak by McFarlin, who also ran for the conversion to cut the Cabool lead to 20-16.
Cabool took the ensuing kickoff and moved the ball 50 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown and added the conversion to increase their lead to 28-16 in the fourth quarter. The Bears answered back when Ava’s Cody Johnson scampered 56 yards around the left end for a touchdown on Ava’s next play from scrimmage. McFarlin threw to Austin Potts for the conversion to cut the Cabool lead to 28-24.
The Bears had one final opportunity in the final seconds when Colton Overcast forced a fumble and recovered the ball with only seconds remaining. Cabool intercepted a long pass attempt by the Bears to seal the win.
Leading tacklers for the Bears were Hunsaker with 10 tackles and Morgan Smith with eight.
The next action for the Bears will be today (Thursday, Sept. 15), when the 8th grade Bears play the Houston Tigers at Ava. Houston does not have enough 7th graders to field a team at this time. Game time is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
The seventh grade Bears will replace the lost game with Houston by playing the Mtn. Grove Panthers 7th grade squad. That game will be played at the neutral site of Houston on Monday, Sept. 19, at 5:30 p.m.