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Blue Devils set to battle Bears


West Memphis looks to get to 3- 3 against Sylvan Hills tonight

WM School District The halfway point of the regular season is in the rearview, and with each week the games get more meaningful. This week the West Memphis Blue Devils need to get above the .500 ledger with a victory at Sylvan Hills.

The Blue Devils and the Bears both own identical records at 2-3 overall and 1-1 in 6A-East Conference action.

West Memphis took a step back last week offensively in a 38-9 homecoming loss against Searcy.

'We've actually gotten better a little every week,' said West Memphis head coach Robert Hooks. 'We've just got to be able to put four quarters together, and we've got to do it in all three phases of the game.'

Sylvan Hills raised some eyebrows last week with its 10-7 loss to Marion, which came into the game winless on the season. The Bears are in the first year being coached by Chris Hill, who experienced a lot of success during his days as head coach at Wynne, particularly on offense.

Hill has a 138-88 record as a head coach all time.

Defensively, the Blue Devils will have to be on the look-out for some outside- the-box looks from Sylvan Hills on offense.

West Memphis lost the services of senior starter Caleb Troxler at inside linebacker in the second game of the season and he will be out for the remainder of the year with a knee injury.

That loss forced the Blue Devils to insert Jaylin Shepard at Troxler's spot and the fellow senior has been effective, teaming with Eli Duncan at the other inside spot.

'Both Eli and Shepard are playing well for us right now,' said Hooks.

Hill has the Bears in a triple option offense that has been hit and miss thus far in the season. Marion shut down the Bears last week, but Sylvan Hills put up 35 points in a conference victory over Pine Bluff two weeks ago.

Defensively, Hooks said Sylvan Hills will play man coverage.

'We'll have to win some one-on-one matchups,' he said matter-of-factly. 'We're going to have to be able to run the football. They'll bring pressure and play man coverage behind it. That right there could be troublesome for us. Their defensive line has good motors.

They go until they hear the whistle. We'll have to keep our eyes up and communicate.'

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