Battlin’ Bears chew up Stafford, 48-21

Published 10:28 pm Friday, November 15, 2019

Ronnie Hughes

The Orange Leader


CHANNELVIEW –All droughts eventually come to an end.

Friday night the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears saw a 22-year drought end as they rolled over the Stafford Spartans, 48-21, in the Class 4A-D1 bi-district round of the playoffs. The win is the Bears first post season victory since 1997 and will send them into the 4A-D1 area round against Crandall next week.

It didn’t take long for LC-M (6-4) senior quarterback Ethan McCollum to get his Bears offense going. After receiving the opening kickoff, the Bears quickly marched 67 yards for the first score of the night. Andy McDow got the ground game going as McCollum would find his receivers for some short route pass completions. McCollum capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to put the Bears up, 7-0, with just over seven minutes left in the first quarter.

The Stafford (5-6) offense started out strong with several big run plays by running back Sean Burns, but things quickly took a turn for the worse. After pushing the ball into Bear territory and having the Bear defense on their heels; the Spartans would fumble the ball handing the ball back to the Bears. The Bears recovered the fumble at their own 35.

LC-M again got their offense firing quickly with McCollum completing passes of 15 and 20 yards. DJ Spears and McDow shared backfield duties to help push the ball just inside the 20. McCollum would again use his legs to catapult himself into the end zone with a 19-yard touchdown run off the left side. LC-M led, 14-0, with 2:22 left in the first quarter. McCollum finished the night with 174 yards rushing along with 106 yards passing with four touchdowns.

The two squads went back-and-forth for the next several possessions with the Bear defense grounding the Spartan passing game. The Bears defense held the Spartan offense to under 50 yards in the first half of play.

Following another failed Spartan drive, the Bear offense would again showcase their speed. After taking over at their own 24 the Bears would drive 76 yards just before the half to notch another score. McDow carried the bulk of the carries early on the drive including a big 16-yard run up the middle while carrying Spartan defenders past midfield. McCollum hit Brendon Pollock for a big gainer on a deep slant to set up McCollum’s third touchdown of the night. The Bears led, 20-0, at halftime following a missed extra point. Pollock ended the night with 5 receptions for 50 yards receiving to lead all Bear receivers.

The Spartan offense opened the second half of play much like they left the first half. Quarterback Cameron Peters, looked to have the offense moving in the right direction with an 11-yard run on the first play of the drive. Unfortunately, the momentum was short-lived. After three run plays resulting in no gain, Peters took a shot across the middle, but was intercepted by Carson Peet to give the Bears the ball back at their own 24.

McCollum took the first offensive snap of the second half up the middle for a big 51-yard gain, rumbling into Spartan territory. McDow followed suit with a run of 11 yards before ripping off a 13-yard touchdown to give the Bear offense a more comfortable lead, 27-0, with just over eight minutes left in the third quarter. McDow tallied 84 yards rushing on the night with two touchdowns.

The Bear offense kept rolling after their defense would get the ball back quickly as the Spartans went three-and-out forcing a must punt situation. McCollum and company went to work from their own 47. Spears caught a missile from McCollum for a 28-yard gain to put the Bears deep in Spartan territory. McCollum polished off the drive with an 11-yard touchdown giving the Bears a big 34-0, lead just before the start of the final quarter of play.

The Spartans showed some fight finally on their next possession. After starting with a short field at the Bears 49, Peters worked his offense into the end zone. Following a 29-yard pass to Jaydon Winston, Peters tiptoed in for a two-yard touchdown for the first Spartan score of the night. The Bears still led big, 34-7, with 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

The Bears took a short field as well on the ensuing drive. McDow capped the drive with a short 5-yard trot to give the Bears a 41-7 lead with eight minutes remaining in the ball game.

The Spartan offense looked to remain hot as they’d go deep on the second play of the next possession. Peters found Johnson again, but this time for a big 49 -yard touchdown pass, but the momentum swing was a bit too late for the Spartans as they still trailed, 41-14.

The Bears put their stamp on the game with Da’Marion Morris flying past defenders for a 48-yard touchdown run to extend the Bear lead to, 48-14. Despite another Spartan passing touchdown it was all a little too late for Spartan fans as they piled out of the stadium in defeat.

The Bears will tangle with a 9-2 Crandall team next week in the area round after Crandall toppled Kilgore 14-0 Thursday night.