The Spring Hill Bears hard fought season on the gridiron and advancement in the playoffs for another match-up to face the reigning Class 2A champs Mt. Ida Lions would end to their first round opponent Marked Tree Indians 56-19 on last Friday in the 2017 postseason for week 11 of Arkansas High School football.

The Spring Hill Bears hard fought season on the gridiron and advancement in the playoffs for another match-up to face the reigning Class 2A champs Mt. Ida Lions would end to their first round opponent Marked Tree Indians 56-19 on last Friday in the 2017 postseason for week 11 of Arkansas High School football.

The Bears brought the fight, but Marked Tree held ground early to maintain 28-7 halftime advantage over visiting Spring Hill. The Bears accounted to trips into the end zones in the second half, but the Indians added another four touchdown summary to roll away for the 37 point victory as Spring Hill ends their year on the gridiron at 4-7 overall.

The Indians advance to the second round of the playoffs improving to 8-2 overall and face the defending Class 2A state champions Mt. Ida Lions this Friday in Mt. Ida.

Despite the Bears falling short to advance in the postseason, they achieved goal set at the beginning of the season to still be playing football beyond week 10. Spring Hill football head coach Matt McBride has made it the primary focus since his arrival for the Bears to make the playoffs and be a true contender in the conference. McBride has preached and stressed thorough about how important making the playoffs mean for every teams football program and to clinch the a postseason spot for 2017 brings momentum to the future.

The Bears set a goal at the beginning of the season to be one of few qualifying teams to still be competing at this time of the year.

McBride believed the Bears had a chance to make some noise and advance far into the postseason, but the execution must stand out on both ends of the field in order to come away victorious over a polished Marked Tree team.

Prior to the Bears first round playoff battle against Marked Tree, McBride commented about how tough the Indians were going to be once they stepped on the field to face them.

McBride said, "We're excited about playing in the playoffs. It's going to be a long trip for us, but I really think we have a chance. Marked Tree has some weapons and their running back is their biggest weapon. They get the ball to him and it's going to be tough to stop him. They have a good quarterback with good targets to throw to. It's just up to us to execute," McBride said.

"Offensively we have shown signs to be explosive and just the opposite. So it's just down to executing. I believe in what we do, just got to be good at it. I told the kids I love them and it's the playoffs and do or die time, so let makes memories and not let this be our last game of the season," McBride said.

Marked Tree finished the 3-2A Conference second. Their go to man running back Paul Coleman is a strong force and has accounted over 2,000 yards rushing this season. Coleman scored four touchdowns in their win against the Bears.

Even though the Bears didn't come away as the victors, McBride believes this season was more memorable and allowed the seniors to finish their football careers in the playoffs with a impressive senior night victory over Dierks in their final home game of the season at Bear Stadium.

The Bears lose seniors' Payton Massanelli, Parker Freeman, Ty Rosenbaum, Cam Middleton, Dustin Beck, K.C. Harvel, Justin Adcock, and Aaron Barnett and McBride wishes them well for a hard fought two seasons coaching them since last season.

The Bears improved from last season with four wins finishing the non-conference season 1-2 defeating Genoa Central and securing key conference victories against and Lafayette County, Murfreesboro and Dierks. The Bears only had one home loss in conference play against Mt. Ida and just a one point loss to Bismarck during non-conference season.

McBride will have several key players returning for next season including lineman, receivers, running backs and starters defensively. Injuries held some key role players out, but McBride is excited to look forward to them being ready to compete for next season.

The Bears have shown production offensively this season as well as defensively and believes they'll return more ready to go far deep into the postseason now with experience and what's expected to continue their run to make the playoffs for 2018.

Other 7-2A Conference teams that competed in first round playoff action was Mineral Springs defeating Hampton 18-14, Foreman shutting out Clarendon 52-0, Mt. Ida beating Des Arc 45-0 and Mt. Pine edged by Palestine-Wheatley 36-35.

For this Friday, Nov. 17 in second round action, Mt. Ida faces Marked Tree, Foreman battles Bearden and Mineral Springs takes on Earle.