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It took three weeks and a road trip to the southeast corner of the state, but the Spencer County Bears collected their first win of the season Saturday and did so in convincing style with a 42-15 win over Pineville that was even more dominating than the score appears.
With temperatures in the 90s at the 3 p.m. afternoon kickoff, the Bears had plenty of reason to sweat, but from the outset there was no sweating the outcome as the Bears took control from the beginning.
The Bears defense sent a message early that it would not bend, holding the Mountain Lions to 3 plays and a punt on their first series. Following a nice return by Erico Smith, the Bears took over on the Pineville 18 yard-line and later in the short series, Smith carried it across the goal from three yards out for the first score. Tyler Calvert’s extra point attempt was good and Spencer was on top 7-0.
“Our defense set the tone. If our defense can play like that every week, we will win a lot of ballgames.”
Not only did the Bears defense stymie Pineville, they took the ball away too. On the hosts’ next possession, Tyler Stevens recovered a fumble, setting up the Bears at the Pineville 20 yard line. However, that drive stalled but the Bears defense got the ball right back again when Eric Doty picked off a Pineville pass to set Spencer County up again on the 41 yard line.
After picking up a first down, the Bears scored again when Erico Smith busted a run loose for 29 yards and a score. Calvert’s kick was good, making it 14-0 early in the second quarter.
Continued stingy defense kept Pineville from threatening and forced another punt.
On their next series, Bears quarterback Kevin Hume found receiver Korey Hartman open, and Hartman was able to race for a 40 yard gain to the Pineville 23 yard line. After another Hume completion to Bryant Fowler, Cameron Smith then carried the ball in for a score. Calvert’s kick then made it 21-0.
Another good punt return by Erico Smith set the Bears up again and it was Doty’s turn to carry the ball, as he got free for a 26-yard touchdown run. Another Calvert kick gave the Bears a commanding 28-0 lead going into the half.
The heat may have sapped both teams of some energy in the third quarter, as neither team put up any points, but the fourth quarter scoring started with just over 7 minutes remaining when Fowler took a Hume pass and raced down the sidelines to go up 35-0.
With three minutes remaining and much of the Bears starting defense out, Pineville was able to light up the scoreboard, to cut the lead to 35-7.
It appeared the Bears were content with running out the clock, but Kevin Hume, on a fourth and less than a yard, kept the ball and found himself a huge hole up the middle. After running over a couple of would-be tacklers, he was free all the way to the endzone for a capping score, making it 42-7. The Mountain Lions would tack on a meaningless score at the end.
Powenski saw all around improvement this week.
“We outhit them on both sides of the ball,” he said. “We hit some big plays and controlled the ball when we needed to. We still have some work to do on the offensive side of the ball, but we did improve this week.”
The Bears had great balance in their running attack even though senior Chris Taylor was out of action. Erico Smith, Cameron Smith and Eric Doty all had good games, and each had touchdowns.
“This is how we anticipated our offense to be. Four or five players producing during the game. It makes it harder for teams to prepare for us when we get that kind of performance,” said Powenski.
Cameron Smith rushed for 81 yards on 13 carries, caught two passes for 15 yards and 34 return yards. Erico Smith had 46 yards of rushing, including two touchdowns and some nice punt returns as well. Doty picked up 41 yards on six carries.
At quarterback, Hume was 7 for 11 through the air for 145 yards and a touchdown, and rushed the ball four times for 52 yards and a touchdown.
“Kevin played well and will continue to get better, “ said Powenski of his young sophomore quarterback. “Our offense is run first to set up the passing game.”
Another impressive stat in the game was Tyler Calvert’s perfect 7 for 7 on extra point attempts. Powenski said the Bears have never had a consistent kicker in the past, and said Calvert’s off-season work to improve is paying off.
“Tyler kicked well on Saturday. He was worked hard in the off-season and during summer camp to become a better kicker. It will help us.”
But defense seemed to be the key in the game and several Bears had huge days. Doty had eight tackles, a sack and an interception and pass deflection. Mitchell Guzman had seven tackles, including one for a loss, and Shawn Berger also had seven tackles, including one for a loss and a forced fumble. Fowler, Justin Smith and Tyler Stevens also each had six tackles as the starting defense held Pineville to just 46 yards through three and a half quarters.
The lopsided score and the extreme heat created playing time for many of the reserves on Saturday as well, and Powenski said several stepped up and played well, which may pay off further down the road.
This week, the Bears are off, which will give them time to heal various bumps and bruises before welcoming in Western Hills next Friday night at 7:30. The Bears stand at 1-2 on the season and have some big matchups in the weeks ahead.