Willow Bears Fall to the Eagles at Homecoming

The Willow Springs Bears hosted the Liberty Eagles at Palenske Field for Willow’s Homecoming game. Tailgating Bears fans were out in full force for the festivities. Returning Queen Emily Scarbrough glowed with excitement. Emily is the daughter of Rick and Mandy Scarbrough, and was escorted by Justin Chaney and Cody Ward. She passed on the crown to winner Taytum DeWitt, daughter of Terra and Rockey DeWitt. She was escorted by Micah Stetina and Avery Stolba. Taytum must have brought both Stetina and Stobla good luck during the game, as they each had an interception in the game.
The Bear Pride Band made a flashy return for their first performance of the season. Caleb Cochran, no. 70, on crutches due to an injury in last week’s game, was front and center, demonstrating that the beat goes on for the Bear Pride Band. The show was called "The Road Not Taken," a theme that seemed quite appropriate for the new challenges of 2020.  
Both teams came onto the field at one win and two losses each. The Eagles defeated the Bears this game 20-13.
The Bears are a young team with only three returning starters. However, the Bears defense proved troubling for the Eagles. Liberty won the toss and elected to receive to start the game. The Eagles’ first series in the first Quarter ended with Tyler Watts #10 throwing an interception. The Bears were not able to move downfield and had to punt.
Bears’ Scottie Osborn #40, demonstrated his impressive kicking skills and returned the pigskin to the Eagles. Carter Pruett #5, fumbled with 2:31 left on the clock in the 1st. The Bears would waste no time. At the Eagles 25-yard line and within 8 seconds, put 6 points on the board. The Eagles increased their turnover ratio with Tyler Watts #10 throwing another INT to Bears’ Taftin Thompson #10. Watts would also recover his own fumble in the first and was sacked to end the first Quarter.
At the start of the second, the Eagles put their game face on. After six consecutive completed passes and four scrambles, #10 Tyler Watts scored a touchdown followed by a 2-point conversion by Drew Ripko #7. Tanner Ripko #6 proved an asset with his defensive ability on the next Bears possession with an outstanding open field tackle, which put the ball back into the hands of Eagles.
After a few short passes and runs, Tyler Watts aired it out and completed a 44-yard pass to Jentry Acklin #17. In the next play, Watts in the shotgun at the Bears 25-yard line tossed the ball to Noah Jester #8 for an Eagles touchdown.  Jester would score another TD in the second quarter to extend the Eagles’ lead to 20-6 at the half.
The third quarter was a defensive coach’s dream with neither team scoring. The Eagles D line led by seniors Kaden Daniels #78 and Lucas Barnes #79 put up a defense the Bears couldn't overcome. Senior Zeb Cornman #33 helped shutdown the Bears from the linebacker position to end the 3rd 20-6.
In the fourth, the Bears put 7 points on the board in 14 seconds. Other than the previous score the Bears would not be able to move the ball.  Eagles D-line senior Devon Shoup #74 and sophomores Ashton Stanley #57 and Keegun Daniels #58 were instrumental in shutting down the Bears’ offense and lead the Eagles to a 20-13 victory.
Bears’ Taftin Thompson #3 had his best game of the year with a whopping six receptions, seventy-one receiving yards, and two touchdown passes from Owen Duddridge #3. Thompson also had two interceptions. Scottie Osborne #40 made a thunderous return with thirteen carries and fifty-seven rushing yards.  Landon Crudgington #58 Justin Chaney #88 Martin Leija #52 and Gennadiy Dudko #43 put on their usual show of unstoppable brute force. Liberty's defense stood firm despite their five turnovers, four interceptions, and one fumble. Bears showed improvement compared to previous games with only one turnover and no interceptions or fumbles. 
Next week, Willow faces Salem at home for their Senior Night. Salem's backfield is strong and their record is 2-3. They have been scoring an average of 16 points a game. Salem is returning six starters this year.
Liberty will host the Mountain Grove Panthers at the Eagles Nest Friday, October 2nd 7:00pm.

Howell County News

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