Bear River, Botsford run over Highlands
If bagpipes had lungs, they would have been gasping for air Friday night at Highlands as Bear River crushed the Scots on their home field 51-14 to move to a perfect 3-0 on the season.
The impressive offensive onslaught was provided courtesy of the Bruins’ O-line and senior running back Brad Botsford who finished with 17 carries for 174 yards and three touchdowns in just the first half alone. The game plan had changed entirely when senior Caleb Johnson was sidelined after he sustained an injury in a 6-yard run the first play from scrimmage.
“(The O-line) played really well, making all the key blocks, and stayed calm and did their job,” said Botsford, whose moves left the defense shaking its head at times. “The first couple of runs I had to wait for a hole, then the O-line opened it up. I was a bit nervous (when Johnson left). He was going to be a big key today. I didn’t know if we’d have a running game.”
Bear River didn’t take long to get on the board as Braden Duncan found his favorite target, Kris Edie, for a 9-yard touchdown pass to complete the 80-yard opening drive on just eight plays in about three minutes. Edie broke the 100-yard mark as he grabbed eight passes for 109. Duncan threw a lot more than he has prior, finishing 10-of-17 for 141 yards and one touchdown pass, but missed opportunities and some dropped passes led to more rushes as the game progressed.
After forcing the Scots to go three-and-out, the Bruins marched 31 yards on seven plays before facing a fourth and short from the Highlands 31-yard line. Without hesitation, the Bruins lined up to go for it, and Botsford took the handoff and broke through the defense for 27 yards to set up first-and-goal. On the next play, he finished what he started and bulldozed 4 yards for the score to give Bear River a 14-0 advantage.
“We did what we set out to do,” said Bear River co-head coach Scott Savoie. “We were hoping we weren’t going to have a let-down. We came in prepared and respected our opponent. Botsford had an incredible first half.”
Highlands would answer right back, however, as Iszir Price took the ensuing kickoff 95 yards up the right side and followed a few key blocks to pull his team within a score. But again it would be Botsford making some noise, this time on defense with a fumble recovery induced by pressure from Justin Robinson that jump started another scoring drive midway through the second quarter. Duncan hooked up with Edie for 11 yards on fourth down, and Botsford plunged in for a 1-yard score to push the lead back to 14 points at 21-7.
Another Scots three-and-out gave the Bruins back the ball, and Bear River went 68 yards on six plays to score with Botsford breaking free once again, this time for 25 yards.
“The 36 Power (pointing to where it happened), I hit two linebackers and spun out,” added Botsford.
A Josh Davis interception gave Bear River life once again with under three minutes to go in the first half, and four plays later, it was Michael Tipton adding another six points with a 6-yard run. Tipton rushed eight times for 43 yards and a score. And when it appeared the half would finally be over. John Voter III came up with a pick-six from 36 yards out to extend the lead to 41-7. At the half, the Bruins had already amassed 347 yards of total offense. They would finish with 467.
“We played great and didn’t slack off,” said Voter, who also wrapped up six tackles, including a jaw-dropper that rattled one of the Scots. “We kept going hard. I’m getting to the end zone (I told myself). It was exciting. It’s my first touchdown on varsity.”
Enough players certainly stepped up to fill in for Johnson, but as the game wore on, it came with a price as more Bruins took hits and gave it all they had. Garrett Ramsour carried much of the load in the second half and held up nicely to finish with six carries for 61 yards and a touchdown.
“I felt like we won the battle but lost the war,” said co-head coach Terry Logue. “Voter had our first defensive score of the year. Our running backs had to gut it up. We’ll have auditions next week for backs. From here on out, the schedule is brutal.”
David Chorjel came up with a fumble recovery and the defense held strong despite a late touchdown pass from Quentin Anquiano to Jacob Yettou to give the Scots their first double-digit score of the season.
“It was a good team effort,” said Bear River assistant coach Brock Boyle. “Johnson going down is big.”
The Bruins (3-0) will be put to the test next Friday when they host River Valley (2-1).
Bear River 50, Highlands 0
The Bear River junior varsity squad put on a similar offensive display Friday night with contributions coming from all around as it blanked the Scots, 50-0.
David Mastrella led the way scoring three touchdowns, one rushing, another on a 40-yard reception from David O’Brien and one which came on a fumble recovery he scooped up and took the distance. Kyle Uclaray had two touchdowns, one rushing and another receiving on a pass from Voter. Dallas Penn also hauled one in from Voter and Trenton Rubey added a score through the trenches. The Bruins led 34-0 after the first quarter and the defense remained stout the rest of the way as RJ Rogers tacked on a field goal in the second half to cap off an amazing night where the JV and varsity teams combined for 101 points.
To contact Sports Writer Brian Shepard, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4234.
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The Little League District 11 postseason is off to a hot start.