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So, the Bears put together four solid quarters of football and came away with a 10-6 win over the Bobcats.
With the win the Bears are now 5-0 on the year and 4-0 in conference play.
The schedule certainly doesn’t get any easier as the Bears prepare this week for Salem, then look ahead to Mtn. View-Liberty after that.
But the Bears are improving with every game, and they just take it one game at a time.
The Bears welcomed Caleb Miles back into the lineup last week after a three-weeks absence for illness. With the defense focusing on Kyle Clinkingbeard who had been rushing for more than 200 yards a game, Miles took a lot of pressure off Clinkingbeard and carried 16 times for 86 yards.
Clinkingbeard, however, was again Ava’s primary ball-carrier with 105 yards and 27 carries.
The Bears had 198 total yards rushing on Friday night. But most satisfying perhaps for Coach Swofford was the 83 yards in passing offense that gave the Bears total offense of 281 yards.
Ava, which has not trailed in a game this season, got on top 7-0 in the second quarter Friday night on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Ben Loge to Jesse Johnson, and Loge added the extra point.
That score came with 9:36 on the second quarter clock, and the extra point would loom huge when Thayer scored before halftime but botched the point-after.
With 26 seconds showing on Ava’s brand new scoreboard, Thayer quarterback Mitch Webber passed to Conner Blair for a 13-yard touchdown. The snap from center was fumbled on the extra-point attempt, however, and Ava recovered the ball to prevent the Bobcats from taking it in.
Late in the third quarter Ava expanded its lead to the final margin of 10-6 when Loge drove the ball through the uprights for a 36-yard field goal.
The 3-pointer, which puts Loge in the record book for Ava’s longest, came at 1:41 in the quarter and resulted from a Thayer fumble that was recovered by the Bears at the Bobcats’ 40-yard line at the 3:36 mark.
Loge had attempted a 39-yard field goal midway through the first quarter, but it was blocked by Thayer.
The four-point Ava lead looked small as Thayer began its final drive of the night with a fair catch at the 27-yard line with 3:12 left on the game clock.
Webber played the field and the clock perfectly, passing to receivers on the sideline where they could step out of bounds and stop the clock.
The Bobcats picked up a first down at the Ava 24 with 1:21 left, but back-to-back sacks by Chance Deal resulted in Ava getting the ball back with 39 seconds left at the Bears’ 36-yard line.
By that time Thayer had exhausted all its time-outs and Loge only had to receive two snaps cleanly and take a knee to run the clock out.
Dillon Adams was Ava’s leading tackler with 10, and Kevin Philpott had nine tackles for the Bears. Deal had three tackles for loss, with the two on Thayer’s final drive being game-savers.
Salem will be here Friday night in SCA action.
The game will start at 7 p.m. and there will be an extended halftime as the Mighty-Mites will give an exhibition of their football expertise. Mighty-Mite players and coaches will be admitted free this Friday night.