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Friday night’s game was delayed almost an hour and a half because of dangerous lightning that accompanied the band of thunderstorms that passed through the area.
The game finally got underway at about 8:20 p.m. with light rain still falling. The rain would mostly stop for remainder of the game, but the field was wet and sloppy, and field conditions deteriorated as the game progressed.
The Bears scored first, and twice in the first half, trailing by just three points, 15-12, at halftime. Unfortunately, that would be all of Ava’s scoring for the night and Mtn. Grove was just getting started.
The Panthers received the opening kickoff and the Ava defense forced them to punt the ball away after picking up one first down.
Ava’s first drive would begin at the Bears’ 19-yard line, and after a 2-yard loss, senior Kyle Clinkingbeard would break through the defensive line and outrun the field for an 83-yard touchdown about 3 minutes into the game.
The snap from center was mishandled on the extra point attempt. Quarterback and kicker Ben Loge picked the ball up and attempted a pass which fell incomplete, but the Bears had the lead, 6-0.
Mtn. Grove went 66 yards to score at 1:58 in the first period on a 2-yard run by quarterback Bobby Otwell, and the kick by Fredrick Kirkhaug gave the Panthers the lead, 7-6.
Following that score by the Panthers, Ava began a drive that would extend into the second quarter.
Kane Thompson returned the kick to the Ava 38-yard line and senior Caleb Miles, who carried eight times for 40 yards, would make a couple of nice, second-effort runs, including a 17-yard carry into Mtn. Grove territory for a 1st down at the 43.
The Bears ran more than 5 minutes off the clock before Clinkingbeard scored on a 2-yard run at 8:48 in the second period to put the Bears back on top, 12-7.
A pass on the 2-point conversion attempt failed.
Mtn. Grove would score again to take a 15-12 lead in at halftime.
The score came on a 1-yard run by Otwell, who then would keep on the option for the 2-point conversion to put the Panthers up by three points at 4:25 in the second quarter.
Otwell would pass to Tyler Collins for a 26-yard touchdown with 2:34 left in the third period, and Kirkhaug’s kick made it 22-12.
A touchback on the ensuing kickoff gave the Bears the ball at the 20-yard line, and on the second play the snap from center was fumbled and Mtn. Grove recovered at Ava’s 7-yard line. On the first play, and less than a minute from their previous score, the Panthers would add to the lead as Otwell went the necessary seven yards. Kirkhaug again added the point-after to put the Panthers up 29-12 at 1:44 in the third quarter.
As the third quarter clock was winding down, Loge completed a pass to Clinkingbeard who turned it into a nice gain, then fumbled the ball away when he was tackled hard at the 25-yard line of Mtn. Grove, ending another potential Ava scoring drive.
Mtn. Grove’s final score of the night would come with 3:19 left in the game on a six-yard run by Otwell, and Kirkhaug’s kick made it 36-12.
Clinkingbeard carried 18 times for 114 yards and two touchdowns. The Bears had 227 yards of total offense, including 155 rushing and 72 passing.
Miles had 13 tackles for the Bears Friday night and Jesse Dean had 10.
The Bears will be at home again this week, hosting a very good Liberty Eagles team from Mtn. View.
It was revealed this week that the Ava-Liberty game will KY3’s game of the week.
The Eagles are 3-0 overall, 1-0 in the SCA after defeating Thayer 30-0 last week.