The Ava High School Bears will open the 2012 football season at home this Friday night with the Aurora Houn Dawgs.
Head Coach Dan Swofford says this will be a real test for his Bears as he considers Aurora to be one of the top five teams in the state.
The Bears are returning 17 lettermen this year, including junior quarterback Ben Loge who started for the Bears last year as a sophomore. Also in the Ava backfield is senior Kyle Clinkingbeard who rushed for 1,888 yards last year to set a new single season record.
Firming up the front line will be seniors Zach Taylor and Kolton Davis, both listed at 260 pounds on the roster, along with sophomore Tristan Haltom (250 lbs.). Junior linemen Larry Walker, Austin Giorgianni and Aaron Box will also be opening holes for the Bears.
The Bears have seven offensive and seven defensive starters back from a year ago, but more than half the lineup will go on both sides of the ball, which makes conditioning a factor in the early part of the season.
Coach Swofford said he was generally happy with what he saw at the Jamboree last Friday night when the Bears ran plays against Mtn. Grove, Strafford and Houston.
He said the positives outweighed the negatives.
The Bears face a tough first half of the season this year with the restructured schedule.
Next week, Ava will travel to Rogersville, then return home on Sept. 7 to begin the conference schedule that includes Mtn. Grove, Liberty and Salem, in that order.
Fans are encouraged to come out to Dr. C.E. Harlan Stadium this Friday night and see the Bears is action as the 2012 football season gets under way.
Game time is 7 p.m.