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Bears off to 2-0 start

CAMPBELL — Coming off a big one-point win over Southern last week in their season opener, the Leetonia Bears faced first-year member Valley Christian in an important Eastern Ohio Athletic contest Saturday. The Bears responded with a 32-14 win at John Kapnick Field.

Once again, the Bears were powered by the strong running of tailback Marco Ferry, who ran for 174 yards, one touchdown and four two-point conversions. The Bears churned out a total of 329 yards on the ground in the game.

Leetonia improves to 2-0 and is tied with United for the EOAC lead.

It was turnovers that gave the Eagles all the momentum early in the contest. The Bears coughed the ball up twice in the first quarter which the Eagles were able to take advantage of.

The Eagles pounced on a fumble at the Bears 33 which Raquan Bell returned for a touchdown that was negated by a penalty. But that didn’t seem to affect the Eagles as Cameron Davenport ran in from 15 yards out with 1:41 remaining in the first quarter to stake the Eagles to a 7-0 lead.

The Eagles again capitalized on a Bears fumble on the first play of the second quarter as Davenport ran in from just 1-yard out to make it 14-0. The score was set up by a sack and fumble of the Bears quarterback.

“We get frustrated, but we went on to the next play,” Bears senior lineman Gannon Shepard said. “It’s all about the next play and try to fix what we messed up.”

“We made some errors and put our defense in a bad spot a couple of times,” Leetonia coach Paul Hulea said. “But our kids just kept playing. That’s the key with high school athletics. Just keep playing.”

However, the Bears kept their cool and mounted a 10-play, 37-yard drive just before the half to cut into the Eagles lead. Jacob McCool scored the first of three touchdowns on the night with only 35 seconds remaining before halftime to make it 14-8.

“We never really gave up. We play all four quarters,” Bears senior lineman Mason Mellinger said. “No matter what the score we always play our hardest. Defense and offense.”

The Bears recovered an on-side kick to start the second half and quickly converted the opportunity with McCool blasting in from 3 yards out. The touchdown at the 8:32 mark gave the Bears a 16-14 advantage.

They added two more touchdowns, one by Ferry from 7 yards and McCool’s third on the night from 3 yards. McCool finished with 36 yards rushing.

“It’s nice having such good backs in the backfield, fullback, and tailbacks,” Mellinger said.

While the Bears ate the clock away with a steady diet of running the ball, it was their defense that really shined in the contest. They held the Eagles to 42 total yards, just 16 on the ground.

“We played so well,” Hulea praised his defense. “Coach ware should be very proud of his team. He really has their program going and does a nice job with his kids. They play hard and they have a belief in what they are doing. They are well coached.”

The Bears will look to keep their early-season winning streak rolling when they host rival Lisbon on Friday. The Eagles will travel to Columbiana on Friday as they face the Clippers for the first time in their history.

LEETONIA: 0-8-16-8–32

VALLEY CHRISTIAN: 7-7-0-0–14

SCORING

V–Cameron Davenport 15 run (Aiden Lambert kick)

V–Davenport 1 run (Lambert kick)

L–Jacob McCool 1 run (Marco Ferry run)

L–McCool 3 run (Ferry run)

L–Ferry 7 run (Ferry run)

L–McCool 3 run (Ferry run)

——

L V

First downs 13 2

Total Yards 343 42

Rushes-yards 55-329 16-16

Passing 14 26

Comp-Att-Int 2-4-0 3-8-1

Punts 3-33.7 2-30

Fumbles-Lost 3-2 3-3

Penalties-Yards 2-15 10-65

——

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

RUSHING–Leetonia, Marco Ferry 35-174, Jacob McCool 11-36, Dylan Durick 5-18; Valley, Cameron Davenport 7-41.

PASSING–Leetonia, Dylan Lennon 2-4-14-0-0; Valley, Joey Battisa 2-7-21-0-1, Izaiah McKinely 1-1-5-0-0.

RECEIVING–Leetonia, Jordan Baker 1-13, Dylan Durick 1-3; Valley, Vershawn Gurley 1-22, Tyrone Lindsey 2-4.

INTERCEPTIONS–Leetonia, Marco Ferry.

FUMBLES–Leetonia, Dylan Durick 2; Valley, Raquan Bell, Nasir Long.

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