Loss Plagued the Bears On and Off the Field Friday Night

Still in a raw stage of grief, the Bears hit the field on September 4. The senior class is suffering another student loss with the passing of Levi Grogan the night before. Levi had been number 71 for Willow Bears Mighty Mites, and still had strong ties to the Bears' football brotherhood. The Bears lacked enthusiasm for the first half of the game combined with a somber mood in the stands. The missing Bear Pride Band and the cheerleaders' upbeat presence was hard to overcome.
Both Willow Springs and Marionville entered the week with wins under their belts. Marionville scored 68 points against Pleasant Hopes 13. Willow won last week in Clever 42 to 0. With over a hundred points combined between the two teams, a high scoring game was anticipated. 
The Bears began the game without starter sophomore Gennadiy Dudko (no 43), but Senior Brayden Henry (no 57) put on a show for the Bears, proving he was up for the task. The Comets were stacked with talent with fifteen starters returning this season for Marionville, compared to just three for Willow.
The Bears’ linemen held the trenches and kept the Comets under 30 points by the game's final score. The talk all week was the Marionville running back Dakota Wilson who did not disappoint. Quarterback, Wil Carlton, proved to be the team’s steady hand and driving force.
As if the Bears needed any more adversity, Senior Kyle Wood (no 1) was injured on a reception in the game's first play. With Wood out of the equation, all the attention was on junior Scotty Osborne (no 40). It was evident the Comets had done their homework on Osborne, pushing him to the limit the entire game.
Highlights of the game include junior Brenden Ferguson (no 2) reading a pass play and coming out of the backfield with a hard hit to shake up a completion pass. The Ferguson brothers will be a crucial asset to success on the field this year.
Senior Avery Stolba (no 24) was running hot with some strong blocks along with Sophomore Scooter Osborn (no 55), Senior Clayton Madden (no 50), and junior Zach Howard (no 77).
Senior Cody Ward (no 21) and junior Owen Duddridge (no 3), not to be underestimated, connected for a run-in touchdown second quarter; despite a lot of fancy footwork and a broken tackle, the Comets shut Ward down. Duddridge and Ward determined to try again. They connect in the third quarter in a much needed six points and morale boost.
The Bears’ defense was back on track by the third quarter with linemen, the Osborne brothers, and Henry bringing the Comets down on more than one occasion.  
The play of the night belongs to Duddridge and junior Garrett Worley (no 16), connecting for a massive 94-yard touchdown. Worley was in the end zone while most of the Comets were still in the backfield, thinking the play was dead. Worley's' never-quit attitude paid off big for the Bears. This touchdown put fuel on the Bears’ fire to win.
Duddridge earned his keep with a whopping 172 passing yards and three touchdown passes. The fourth quarter ended in a tie, 21 to 21.
A fumble in overtime proved to be too much to overcome for the Bears, and they fell to the Comets with a final score of 29 to 21 after Marionville ran in a two-point conversion The Bears are on the road next week to Cabool. The last time they met on the gridiron, the Bears won 30 to 6. Cabool has 11 seniors and 12 returning starters. They are putting up big numbers with a 68/ 8 win over Miller and a 67/ 6 win over Greenfield this season.

Howell County News

110 W. Main St.,
Willow Springs, MO 65793

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