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The second half of the game would be played under a running clock and the Bears would use a lot of young players who don’t normally see a great deal of varsity action.
The final score would be the same as that at halftime.
It was a great Homecoming game for the Bears who finally had a chance to relax and have fun while playing the game, after a grueling schedule during the first half of the season.
With the win, the Bears are 3-3 on the year and 2-2 in the SCA.
This week the Bears will make the long trip to Thayer, and despite the long bus ride, the Bears should be considered a favorite in this game. But Coach Dan Swofford knows the Bobcats cannot be taken for granted because they are a team that will “find a way to beat you.”
Ava received the opening kickoff and on 3rd-and-one Kyle Clinkingbeard scored on a 46-yard run. Ben Loge booted the extra point and less than a minute and a half into the game, the Bears led 7-0.
Houston picked up one yard on its initial series and punted the ball away on 4th and 9.
Ava’s Chance Boyd received the punt and returned the ball to midfield, but an illegal block penalty backed the Bears up to the 31-yard line of Ava.
Not to worry, on the first play from scrimmage, Clinkingbeard squirted through the line and went 69 yards to score Ava’s second touchdown with 9:23 remaining on the first quarter clock. Loge’s kick would make it 14-0.
Houston’s next series began at the Tigers’ 10-yard line after a personal foul on Houston on the return of the kickoff. Four plays later the Tigers would punt the ball away and again Boyd returned it to the 46-yard-line of Houston.
On Ava’s first play of the series, quarterback Loge kept the ball on the option and sprinted 46 yards for Ava’s third touchdown with more than half of the first quarter still to be played. Loge booted the extra point to give the Bears a 21-0 lead at the 7:28 point.
It would take the Bears five plays and a minute and 40 seconds to score the next time. That touchdown came on a 36-yard run by Clinkingbeard, and when Loge’s kick missed its mark, the Bears’ lead was 27-0 with 4:06 still left in the first quarter of play.
Colton Akers, who had five carries for 23 yards on the night, saw action before the end of the first period.
Ava was flagged for two delay of game infractions early in the second quarter which resulted in the Bears having to punt.
Houston picked up one first down and moved the ball into Ava territory before having to punt the ball away.
Ava’s next possession was a sustained drive that ran 6½ minutes off the clock and resulted in a 9-yard touchdown run by Loge on the keeper. Ava went for the 2-point conversion to make up for the missed kick earlier, and Clinkingbeard toted the ball across the goal line to make it 35-0 with 1:04 left in the first half.
That took the Bears up to the Homecoming coronation ceremonies at halftime, and when play resumed for the second half the Ava lineup had a different look.
Sophomore Cody Huff was under center taking the snap from center and Brett Vinson and Akers were the primary ball carriers.
Clinkingbeard would finish the game with 13 carries for 230 yards, three touchdowns and one 2-point conversion run.
Loge carried three times for 55 yards and two touchdowns. Akers had five carries for 23 yards, Vinson four carries for 13 yards and freshman Nate Bray carried twice for four yards. Caleb Miles who was nursing a sore ankle saw limited action on Friday night.
The Bears had a total of 325 yards rushing on the night, and with 22 passing yards finished with 347 total yards of offense.
Austin Gastineau caught two passes for Ava’s 22 yards in the air.
Defensively, Buster Davis led the Bears with 11 tackles including one for a loss. Dylan Stout, who has changed uniform numbers and now wears No. 33, had 10 tackles, and Kolton Davis had two tackles for loss.
Cody Huff and Brett Waggoner each had an interception for the Ava defense.
After this week’s game at Thayer, the Bears will board the bus again on Oct. 12 and travel to Cabool, then will close out the 9-game schedule at home with Willow Springs. Game 10 will constitute district play with the opponent to be determined by seeding.
Teams included in Ava’s Class 3, District 3 are Buffalo, Eldon, Logan-Rogersville, Osage, Salem, Springfield Catholic and Versailles.
The district seeding will also determine who hosts the 10th game of the season.
The winner in Game 10 moves on to play again; the losing team starts basketball.