Bear Defense Kept Scores Low and Spirits High

The Bears' defense was on again in Friday’s game against the Cabool Bulldogs. Cabool had been racking up 60-plus points during their first two games this year, but the Bears gave up less than 20 points.
The Bears continued to struggle with turnovers, and the Bulldogs used this to their advantage. Willow gave up a total of five turnovers, three in the first quarter, some of which resulted in touchdowns for the Bulldogs.
The Bears' offensive line struggled to cope with several missing players. Since the Bears lacked a running game, it put all the pressure on Owen Duddridge (no 3) and the receivers. Missing the speed from still recovering Kyle Wood, the Bears seemed always to be a step behind.Willow fans still got a show from Wood as he amped up and helped guide the bears from the sidelines.
The Bears entered half time with a score favoring the Bulldog s 13 to 7. Neither team scored any points in the third quarter.
The clock ran out early on the Bears at the end of the fourth quarter which caused an emotional response from the stands. The Bears had fought hard for and then lost a narrow lead. In the end, Cabool walked away with the win and a final score of 19 to 14.   
Highlights from individual players included Taftin Thompson (no 10) taking command of the Bulldog endzone. He prevented two touchdown passes by swatting the ball away from Cabool players. 
Taylor Rothermich (no 15), stepping in for the absent Scottie Osborn, had big shoes to fill. Rothermich, measures up at only at 5’6” and145 pounds, compared to Osborne’s Scottie Osborne’s 6-foot,  240 pound frame. Rothermich proved to be small but mighty, pushing through a pack of Bulldogs several times. Rothermich also recovered a fumble in the second half of the game, which brought the stands to their feet.
Brayden Henry (no 57) blocked an extra point, which built up the energy for the Bears. Henry showed no mercy and refused to give up despite a rolled ankle in the second quarter.
Cody Ward (no 21) had another big game, including a 33-yard deflected pass for a touchdown, which put the Bears back on top 14-13 in the fourth quarter.
Garrett Worley (no 16) with a 27-yard pass from Duddridge was also good for a Bears touchdown.
Zach Howard (no 77) and Ian Smith (no 7) showed to be critical players with big tackles in the fourth quarter, as the Bears gained the lead.
Undoubtedly in Jonah Smiths' honor, the game against the Bulldogs fell on his 18th birthday.
If Friday nights aren't enough to calm your craving for Bears football, don't forget to check out the JV Bears on Monday nights at 6:00. Freshman standouts include Jordan Gibson (no 22) and Payton Clinton (no 75).
Next week the Bears travel to Mountain Grove. The Panthers, with eight returning starters, should prove to be a worthy opponent. Players to watch are senior Alex Casas and junior Brendan Rodgers, with over 120 tackles between them last year. Also stand out Hollen Glenn, (no 21). So far in their season, Ava won over Grove 14-0, Caruthersville won over Grove 36-35, and Grove beat Fairgrove 28-12.

Howell County News

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

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