The Spring Hill Bears got back on the gridiron Monday night for their first experience of football competition 2017 in a scrimmage game contest against the Baptist Prep Eagles held at Claude Mann Stadium in Malvern.

The Spring Hill Bears got back on the gridiron Monday night for their first experience of football competition 2017 in a scrimmage game contest against the Baptist Prep Eagles held at Claude Mann Stadium in Malvern.

The Bears took care of business to pull away for 7-6 victory in their second consecutive encounter against the Eagles for scrimmage football competition on neutral territory.

For a running clock in opening quarter action, the Bears struck first with quarterback Payton Massanelli completing a pass to senior receiver Cam Middleton that resulted in a touchdown run, but later called back for a penalty in the game's opening drive. The Bears would regroup and Massanelli connected on a touchdown pass reception to Lewis Chambers to put Spring Hill on the board 6-0. Middleton was good on the PAT to give the Bears a 7-0 advantage at the 8:47 mark. Baptist Prep held possessions in the first quarter, but the Bears' defense held them scoreless to convert on their drives to provide scoring opportunities. The first quarter ended with Bears up over the Eagles 7-0.

In the second quarter, the Bears wouldn't add to their score, but had strong drives on the ground from Massanelli on QB keepers and Slade Cox, Keymonte Rhodes and Dustin Beck all rotating running the ball for yardage. As the Bears' defense kept it's progression on stops, Levi Kidd, Beck, Drake Kidd, Hays Martin, Cox and Garret Pauley all came out on big tackles against the Eagles offensive attacks. Late in second period play, the Eagles converted a first down drive toward the Bears' 29 line yard line with 12.5 seconds remaining to play in first half action. A big defensive play by Drake Kidd on a interception kept the Eagles scoreless from reaching the end zone to end second quarter play. At halftime, Spring Hill led Baptist Prep 7-0.

In the second half, the Bears' offense would be without quarterback Massanelli suffering another injury late in the second quarter not looking to be too serious. Senior quarterback Parker Freeman took over the offense for the remaining time of the game. In the third quarter, Baptist Prep was held scoreless down to the one minute mark as the Eagles march into the end zone inside the red zone, but PAT no good. At the end of third quarter action, the Bears led the Eagles 7-6.

In the fourth quarter, the Bears' defense kept the Eagles out the end zone with a key fumble recovery at the 5:27 mark for a Baptist Prep turnover. Offensively, the Bears executed their scheme on the ground with a few plus yardage from Freeman on QB keepers with Cox and Rhodes taking snaps to run against the Eagles defense. Down to the 3:00 mark in the fourth, Baptist Prep forced to turnover on downs to give the Bears back possession offensively near the 50 yard line.

The Bears capitalized for yards into Baptist Prep territory across the mid-line point at the 2:33 mark. Utilizing time management, the Bears picked up a key first down drive with Freeman completing a pass reception to Hays Martin to bring Spring Hill's offense to the 3-yard line with under a minute to play. The Bears held onto the possession to let the clock run out to secure victory for the second year against the Class 4A Baptist Prep in scrimmage play.

The Bears will officially open the 2017 football season Sept. 1 at home hosting the Bismarck Lions. Kickoff set 7 p.m. at Bears Stadium.