Bears drop ninth game in a row, fall to Winnetonka

Winnetonka likely is headed for the football playoffs for the first time since 2003. William Chrisman will have to wait another year.
Michael Hayes rushed 18 times for 137 yards and three touchdowns in leading the Griffins to an easy 36-7 Class 5 District 10 and Suburban Big Six victory over the Bears at Independence All-School Stadium/Norm James Field Thursday night.
Winnetonka qualifies for the playoff if Fort Osage defeats North Kansas City tonight or loses by 11 points or less.
The Bears, in closing out a disappointing 1-9 season after a opening 16-14 victory over Ruskin, were never in contention.
Fumble recoveries by Michael Vieyera and Tre Smith and Mason Murphy’s 41-yard touchdown strike to Josh Yakovitz with 1:40 remaining were among the few Chrisman highlights. Jeremie Sagastume added the extra point.
“We played hard,” Chrisman wide receiver/defensive back Zach Porter said. “We never could get anything going.”
The Bears managed only six first downs and 87 total yards. They were forced to punt seven times. At one time, they had a minus 48 rushing yaradage as the ground game could never get untracked until the closing minutes.
Meanwhile, Winnetonka not only turned around a winless 2007 season but clinched a  tie for the conference title with Park Hill at 4-1.
“We had good players coming back who believed in  themselves that they could do it,” said Winnetonka coach Ken Clemens of this fall’s success. Clemens is the former head coach at Raytown
It was too much Hayes in the first half for Chrisman.
He scored the first three Winnetonka touchdowns on runs of 12, 22 and 5 yards. He had 133 yards on 16 carries in the half. With the victory safely in hand, he carried only twice in the second half for four yards.
Alex Willis rushed seven yards for the fourth Griffin touchdown and 27-0 halftme lead. Soccer standout Anthony Davis kicked three  extra points.
Early in the third quarter, Winnetonka was awarded a safety when Chrisman, in a punting situation from its own 13, snapped the ball out of the end zone.
Then with 1:13 remaining in the quarter Willis passed 25 yards to Andrew Helmick for the final Winnetonka touchdown. Helmick made a sensational, leaping grab with both feet barely in bounds.
“It has been tough,” Chrisman coach Mike Spotts said of the season. “I had high expectations. We played 10 sophomores a lot. We had some kids who didn’t get it down.
“But we have 10 sophomores coming back and there were 50 freshmen.”
Still, the Bears wouldn’t quit.
Murphy had runs of 28 and 12 yards and threw the touchdown pass to Yakovitz in leading a 91-yard, 10-play drive in the closing minutes.
Earlier in the drive Leroy Campbell had rambled 40 yards for an apparent touchdown. But a holding call erased the TD. Four players later Mason found Yakovitz.
“It was rough,” Chrisman’s senior tight end/defensive back Zach Hankins said of the season. “But I loved playing with all of these guys. I want to continue to playing football in college but I don’t know where yet.”
For Winnetona another game is a possibility next Wednesday night in the first round of the playoffs against likely Oak Park.