Ava dominates in ‘The Battle of the Bears’
Wed, 10/25/2023 - 10:01am admin
A rare Thursday night game was the setting for the Bears’ final contest of the regular season as they hosted the Ava Bears. Ava roared into town boasting an 8-0 record, ranked 4th in State in Class 3, and as undisputed SCA Champs.
It was Senior Night in Willow Springs and before the game, four senior football players and their parents were honored along with the seniors in band, cross country, girls’ tennis, and cheerleading. Zepplyn Gilliam, Aiden Stuart, Jordan Rutledge, and Montana Coats were the four football seniors taking the field at Palenske for the last time.
The Willow Bears knew they would have their work cut out for them facing a team that has proven all season that they are the total package.
Ava struck early and often with a ground attack that was nearly impossible to shut down. Behind the powerful runs of Dickson, Hutchison, Tidwell and Adams, the Bears from Ava racked up a 48-0 lead in the first quarter.
The problems that had plagued the WS Bears all season seemed magnified next to the glaring talent of Ava. Willow Springs started strong with a successful pass from quarterback Dylan Ferguson to Aiden Stuart on their first possession, but it didn’t take long for fumbles, tackles-for-loss, and inefficiency on the line to put the Bears in a hole that was difficult to overcome.
Ava subbed in their JV squad early in the second quarter. With nothing left to prove, they took the opportunity to rest their starters and prevent any varsity injuries going into their post-season.
Zepplyn Gilliam, the only 4-year letterman for the WS Bears, showed up large for the defense and finished his home field career with several dominant tackles.
The Willow Springs Bears kept up their effort on each snap and left it all out on the field as time wound down. The final score was Ava, 73, Willow 0.
The Willow Bears will be on the road Friday night to take on the Forsyth Panthers (7-2) in the first round of district action.