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Sylvan Hills uses special teams to bedevil West Memphis

by BILLY WOODS SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE | October 9, 2021 at 2:54 a.m.

WEST MEMPHIS -- Two special teams touchdowns paved the way for Sylvan Hills as the Bears rallied from a second-half deficit for a 35-21 victory Friday over West Memphis in 6A-East Conference action.

Titus Stout blocked a West Memphis punt in the fourth quarter and Tyler Pearson scooped and scored from 32 yards out to give the Bears a 35-21 lead with 6:46 to play.

Sylvan Hills (5-1, 3-0) snapped a 7-7 tie at halftime when Jahaun Smith returned the second-half kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.

"Obviously, the two special teams plays were the difference in the game," Sylvan Hills Coach Chris Hill said. "It wasn't pretty in the dressing room at halftime. I told the coaches before we went in that I hoped I didn't make an idiot of myself. I almost passed out. I didn't like our energy in the first half."

The Bears had little trouble scoring on their first possession, going 51 yards in four plays with Dylan Harris picking up all 51 yards on the ground, capping it with a 4-yard run.

But Hill said Harris was needed as a lineman on defense, thus he was held out on offense until early in the fourth quarter when he scored his second touchdown.

Losers of five in a row, West Memphis (1-5, 0-3) rallied to tie the game at halftime on a 2-yard touchdown by A.J. Motley, who was inserted in the backfield just a week earlier. Motley rushed for 111 yards, 85 of which came in the first half.

The Blue Devils held a brief 21-14 lead when senior Malcolm Perry scored a 2-yard touchdown with 5:16 left in the third quarter.

Sylvan Hills quarterback Gavin Tiner tied it 21-21 with 1:19 to play in the third quarter on a 1-yard TD.

Harris returned to the backfield for the Bears to open the fourth quarter and he burst through a huge hole on the right side for a 14-yard touchdown with 9:54 left, giving the visitors the lead for good.

Hill said he was especially disappointed in his team's offense in the first half. The Bears had just 55 yards total in the first two quarters, all of it coming on the ground.

"I was pleased we found a way to win in the second half," Hill added. "We had a good trip over here but I didn't like our energy during warm-ups. But we got after it much better in the second half."

Print Headline: Bears rally behind special teams

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