Bears Fall to Mountain Grove Panthers
Wed, 09/23/2020 - 12:00pm admin
Heather Rothermich, sports correspondent
Crisp fall air, the return of the Bears' Cheerleaders, and the Panthers homecoming celebration brought back a feeling of fall football normalcy.
The young Panther team showed the Bears no mercy this game. The Bears continue to struggle with offense and their running game; this combination proves too big of a challenge to overcome. Missouri State High School Activities Association was in attendance to observe.
The Bears hit the field with the return of OL Gennadiy Dudko (no 43), who showed he was more than ready to return, keeping a strong and steady presence all game. With 36 seconds left in the first quarter Scooter Osborne (no 55) launched into the air to slap down a pass attempt by the Panthers, which was an unexpected move from the lineman. The first quarter ended with Panthers leading 6 to zero.
Avery Stolba (no 24), who has been out due to injury, was a key player for the Bears, made a massive comeback in the second quarter with a crucial tackle. Micah Stetina (no 60) was ready for an over-the-middle interception causing a turnover against the Panthers. Kevin Christopher (no 8) saved the Bears from a Panther touchdown in the second with a perfectly-timed tackle.
Garrett Worley (no 16) had a high and short punt that started like any other. However, Nathan McDaniel (no 35) shook things up with an exciting catch. The Panthers let it bounce. Taftin Thomspon (no 10) knocked the ball off a Panther, and McDaniel recovered it, making a short run. His electric energy was contagious to Bear fans and players alike.
The Bears’ defense held the Panthers to 6 points at the half, but Willow Springs had yet to see touchdown territory.
In the third quarter, Zack Howard (no 77)and Brenden Ferguson (no 2) managed powerful tackles in the third. Ferguson shut down Groves star player Hollen on more than one occasion. Owen Duddridge (no 3) took a hard late hit. He pushed through the pain with a terrific run for a 56-yard touchdown. Flags flew at the 50-yard line for a rare incidental facemask on offense, and the touchdown was called back, leaving the final score at 20-0 Panthers.
The Bears will play Liberty Eagles at home Friday as they celebrate a COVID version of homecoming. There will be no parade this year, but students will enjoy a spirit week, and a coronation will be held at Palenske Field at 6:30 PM. This year's spirit week theme is 'Bearcation,' featuring a new destination each day. The 2020 Homecoming Princesses and Court include Freshman Desie DeWitt, Sophomore Courtney Ames, Junior Ashlyn Jones. The Seniors are Taytum DeWitt, Ashtin Grogan, and Jodi Roinuse. Next week will also be a homecoming for several returning Bear players to the starting lineup. Liberty returns six starters who average 20 points a game with a 2-2 season so far.