Two minutes and four seconds. That’s the amount of time it took Bear River to put points on the board to open its 2013 season, and they weren’t even on the receiving end of the opening kickoff.
The man of the night for the Bruins was senior fullback Brad Botsford, who pounded through the trenches for three touchdowns as he carried the ball 12 times for 77 yards in a 26-7 victory Friday night at Union Mine.
“We just came out ready to win and play,” said Botsford. “I missed practice all summer because I had to work so I owed it to my team to come out and play my hardest. (The offensive line) really held their own. They made a couple mistakes here and there, but we fixed them along the way.”
Bear River did more than fix mistakes along the way, they flat out dominated Union Mine in terms of physicality on almost every play. The Bruins first score was set up by a Botsford fumble recovery on the opening kick, which gave the Bruins possession at the Diamondbacks’ 30-yard line. From there, starting quarterback Braden Duncan hooked up with Kris Edie and starting running backs Michael Tipton and Caleb Johnson broke tackles as the offense moved down to the 1-yard line for Botsford’s first score.
“The first win takes a way all the question marks,” said co-head coach Scott Savoie after the team’s satisfying performance. “Lots of kids, all 38 of them, bust their butts to play, and everyone got a chance. I was pleased with Braden Duncan. He had good play action. We didn’t have to light up the scoreboard throwing. We can walk away feeling good.”
Duncan didn’t throw all too much as he finished 5-for-7 passing for 82 yards, but he stepped up when he needed to and found wide receiver Edie with phenomenal accuracy. Edie snatched all five of Duncan’s completions at pivotal times to help extend scoring drives, including a 33-yard reception in the Bruins’ last drive.
Union Mine had trouble getting anything going offensively despite possessing the ball for almost the entire second quarter. Bear River punched in its second score at the beginning of the quarter on another 1-yard plunge by Botsford to make it 12-0, which capped off a 12-play 80-yard drive that began off a Ryan Wagner fumble recovery. The Bruins failed on the two-point conversion. After that score, the Diamondbacks controlled the ball for all but two and a half plays until the half.
“A lot of times when the offense is off the field for that long, it loses its continuity,” explained Savoie.
The Diamondbacks began their drive at their own 28 and moved down to the Bruins’ 21 before Garrett Ramsour intercepted Union Mine sophomore Brody Pearman’s pass attempt at the 10-yard line and dashed 67 yards in the other direction before being stripped. The ball was recovered by Union Mine at the Bear River 23 ,and the Diamondbacks offense stayed on the field for what seemed like an eternity until it came up empty on a 35-yard field goal attempt.
“The kids bent, but they didn’t break,” said co-head coach Terry Logue. “That second quarter seemed like an hour. We played great in the third quarter and opened it up a bit — very happy to be 1-0.”
Coming out onto the field in the second half, Bear River knew there was still work to be done.
“We made it a point of emphasis to come out and put together a nice drive and cap it off with a touchdown,” said Savoie. “And we did cap it off and it gave us some breathing room.”
After marching 72 yards in 12 plays, Bear River’s Johnson took the hand off and broke across the goal line to make it 18-0. The PAT was good. Johnson ended with 13 carries for 86 yards.
On Union Mine’s next possession, it had a 29-yard touchdown run called back for holding, and the Bear River defense held its ground to force a punt. The Bruins were pinned back at their own three yard line, but quickly made work of the fatigued Diamondback defense with another scoring drive for 97 yards. Duncan connected with Edie twice and the nail in the coffin came with Botsford’s 32-yard sprint into the end zone to extend the lead to 26-0.
“We’re going to enjoy this for a couple of days,” Logue said. “Next week we’re getting ready for a big, physical Woodland team.”
Union Mine finished with 104 yards passing and 170 yards rushing for the game, 86 of which came on its last drive along with its only score. For the Bruins, Kyle Krogman had a team-high six tackles, and Hunter Cramer wrapped up five.
JV: Bear River 33, Union Mine 6
In junior varsity action, the Bruins also took care of business with a stellar performance led by sophomore captain running back Kyle Uclaray and David Mastrella for a 33-6 victory.
Uclaray rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns, while Mastrella added 45 yards on the ground for a pair of scores and 62 yards receiving for a touchdown. Quarterback Jason Voter finished the evening 4-for-8 passing with 95 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Jared Kilgore led the charge, wrapping up nine tackles. RJ Rogers contributed six tackles and DB Daniel Kiggins hauled in an interception to end the game. Most of the scoring had been done early by the Bruins as they took a 26-0 lead into the half.
To contact Sports Writer Brian Shepard, call 530-477-4234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.