Howell County News/ Gretchen Creighton PhotographyHowell County News/ Gretchen Creighton PhotographyHowell County News/ Gretchen Creighton Photography

Ava runs over Liberty

The Ava Bears used their size and physicality to win the line of scrimmage and ultimately pull away from Liberty for a 59-24 victory on Friday.
Early in the first quarter, Ava's Blayne Mendel opened the scoring with an 8-yard touchdown run. Liberty then drove down the field, and Drew Ripko answered with his own touchdown carry of 17 yards.  
On their next possession, Spencer Skyles of the Bears scored on a 26-yard run to make it 14-6. Then, after the teams traded possessions, Ava found the end zone again on the ground. This time it was Zach Richards from 7 yards away.
After a Liberty interception, Ava took the ball on their own 25-yard line. A couple plays later, Ava attempted their only pass of the game. The result was a Skyler Rogers pick-six on a screen pass for the Liberty score. 
Behind their offensive line, the Bears then rumbled down the field where Hunter Adams punched it in from 2 yards out. On the ensuing kickoff, Drew Ripko took the ball for an impressive 98-yard return for an Eagle score. 
The last score of the first half came via Ava's kicker Jeremiah Blakely as he struck a 33-yard field goal to push the Ava lead to 31-18 at halftime. Blakely had an impressive performance on the night going 8 for 8 on extra points and nailing his lone field goal attempt.
After the half, Liberty clawed their way back within one score. Noah Jester caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Ripko to make it 24-31. 
Then, like a boxer throwing jabs all night long, the haymakers started to hit home for Ava. The Bears used two long touchdown runs each from Skyles and Adams to bury the Eagles for a final score 59-24.
Up next for Liberty is another chance to right the ship. It's rivalry week as the Willow Springs Bears come to town for the Eagles’ homecoming.
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