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The Ava Middle School Bears traveled to Willow Springs for 7th and 8th grade football games on Thursday, Sept. 29.
The visiting Ava Bears defeated the Willow Springs Bears 8-0 in the 7th grade game. The game remained scoreless until Ava’s Brandon Johnson scored on a 15-yard run with 1:19 remaining in the third quarter. Quarterback Nick Sterling ran for the 2-point conversion to extend the lead to 8-0.
Ava forced Willow Springs to punt on their next possession, and a 30-yard punt return by Kelly McDonald gave Ava good field position at the Willow Springs 35 yard line. Ava drove the ball for two first downs and ran out the clock to preserve the win.
Leading tacklers for the Bears were Trevor Johnson, Cyprus Phillips and McDonald with six tackles each. Colton Skyles also recovered a fumble to stop a Willow Springs drive.
Ava won an exciting 8th grade contest by a score of 20-16. Willow Springs held the ball nearly the entire first quarter before Ava’s Zach Hunsaker recovered a fumble to give the Bears the ball on their own 19-yard line.
Ava scored 12 plays later on a 6-yard run by Cody Johnson. Caleb McFarlin passed to Morgan Smith for the 2-point conversion.
Willow Springs scored on their next play from scrimmage to tie the game at 8-8 with 2:10 remaining in the half. Ava put together a 10-play, 77 yard drive and scored on the final play of the half.
The scoring play was a 5-yard completion from Morgan Smith to Caleb McFarlin. Willow Springs scored to take a 16-14 lead with 5:29 remaining in the game. Ava responded with an 8-play, 64-yard scoring drive.
Cody Johnson scored on a 9-yard run with 2:09 remaining in the game. Ava forced Willow Springs to turn the ball over on downs and then took a knee to run out the final seconds.
Leading tacklers for Ava were Hunsaker with 10 tackles and Nate Bray with 7 tackles.
The Bears will next play host to the West Plains Zizzers tonight (Thursday, Oct. 6). The 7th grade game is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.
The Bears will close out the season on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at Mountain Grove.