Bears prepare for final three games

Another big crowd of Bearbackers turned out Monday for the luncheon that is named for the group.

Head Coach Clint Conque reviewed the Bears’ overall sound defensive effort against North Alabama, ranked fourth in the nation. The Lions came back from a 6-3 halftime deficit to take a 31-12 win.

?Outside of about four plays, our defense played extremely well. We held an explosive offensive football team to more than 200 yards and about two touchdowns below their average,? Conque said.

North Alabama came in averaging 550 yards of offense and 44 points per game. The Bears had only 170 yards of offense in the encounter.

?That?s the poorest offensive performance we?ve had, probably in the history of football here,? Conque told the Bearbackers.

The head coach announced that sophomore quarterback Chris Reil would make his first start for the Bears next week in an effort to get more spark at the position. Reil was a passing whiz for Henderson in 2000 and was named Gulf South Freshman of the Year.

Conque lamented on the fact that the Bears got in the red zone twice in the first half at Florence but could only record two field goals. ?I knew field goals weren?t going to win the game. They are very well coached, sound fundamentally and have outstanding athletes.?

Players of the Week are as follows: True freshman running back Willie Hopson on offense; freshman Jasper Johnson and senior Chris Bell on defense; and place-kicker Garrett Morgan, special teams.

The trip started on an ominous note with one of the Bears’ team buses sideswiped by a truck near the I-40 Bridge at West Memphis. There were no personal injuries but the bus sustained a broken window and a mirror knocked off.

Conque said the incident resulted in a delay of about 90 minutes. “Fortunately no one was hurt,” he said, adding, “Our No. 1 concern is always the safety of our young people.”

The unbelievably tough Gulf South Conference will likely have an 11-0 team, another 10-1 and two more at 9-2 this year.

The Bears meanwhile will be playing for pride the rest of the way, hoping to put a three-game win streak together to carry into the spring. Two of the remaining games are at Estes Stadium, the other 50 miles away against traditional rival Arkansas Tech. It starts this Saturday with West Georgia coming in for a 3 p.m. homecoming kickoff.

?All we can do is keep working,? Conque said. ?When I don?t show up to work is the time to get worried. The coaches are still working hard and the players are still playing hard.?

-Tommy Jackson