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SYLVAN HILLS 28, LR MCCLELLAN 27, OT

After 48 minutes of hard-hitting football and one overtime possession for each team, it came down to a single extra point as Class 6A Sylvan Hills (1-2) edged Class 5A Little Rock McClellan 28-27 in overtime in Sherwood for the Bears' first victory of the season.

The teams were tied 21-21 at the end of regulation.

Sylvan Hills Coach Jim Withrow had high praise for his team despite suffering two interceptions and losing two fumbles.

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"They kept playing hard, but if we can't take care of the ball, we're not going to do well," he said. "But we were able to control our emotions and held on."

Sylvan Hills won the coin toss for overtime and opted to play defense.

Starting at the Bears' 10, McClellan (1-1) got off on the wrong foot, getting penalized for illegal motion before running a play.

Senior running back Jeremiah Aikins lost 2 yards on first down, then gained 3 to put them at the 14 when the Crimson Lions were called for offensive pass interference. Sylvan Hills declined the penalty, giving McClellan a fourth down at the 14.

But Brandon Williams found Aikins in the end zone for the touchdown, but the two-point conversion on a direct snap to Aikins was stopped short.

Sylvan Hills made a big smash on its first overtime play when Taevion Cunningham went around the right side and sneaked into the end zone. Another penalty on McClellan, this one for unsportsmanlike conduct, moved the extra point a hard and a half closer.

Senior Matthew Riley kicked the ball between the uprights, and the home team and its fans erupted and rushed the field.

Withrow gave kudos to his defense, which had been blitzed at home in the opener by Arkadelphia then lost by 20 to Little Rock Catholic in the season's second game. Now the Bears have an open week before traveling to Pine Bluff to open 6A-East Conference play.

Tied 14-14 heading into the fourth quarter, the Bears took their first lead when safety Keenan Hunter intercepted a Jordan Harris pass at the 40 and returned it to the 8. DeAngelo Smith scored the touchdown on the next play, giving the Bears a 21-14 edge with 9:12 remaining.

McClellan started from the 20 after a touchback on the kickoff. After losing a yard on first down, Ben King gained 16 yards and a first down at the McClellan 35.

Quarterback Joshua Brown then took the ball up the middle for 65 yards and a touchdown. A successful extra-point kick tied the game again with 7:40 remaining.

Neither team mounted any offense in the final seven-plus minutes.

Sports on 09/14/2019

Print Headline: Sylvan Hills bests McClellan in OT

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