Bear River football trounced by Placer
Special to The Union
Hillmen 28, Bruins 0
P: Clark Pietromonaco 24-yard pass to Austin Hess (8:51) Nikolai Figueroa kick
P: Pietromonaco 51-yard run (3:18) Figueroa kick
P: Hess 10-yard run (8:58) Figueroa kick
P: Pietromonaco 45-yard pass to Frankie O’neal (10:11) Figueroa kick
The storm may have blown over LeFebvre Stadium before kickoff, but Placer continued to pour the hurt on Bear River Saturday night as it blanked the Bruins, 28-0.
With a soggy stage set for the top-tier Pioneer Valley League teams to duke it out, weather would be the least of Bear River’s problems. Placer’s defense wreaked havoc and stalled the Bruins’ efforts in an all-around ugly game for Bear River.
“We got beat,” said Bruins co-head coach Scott Savoie. “You got to hand it to Placer. We kept them under their usual, but we couldn’t match it. It’s unfortunate. We had a shot at banner. We told our kids to keep their heads up. There’s still a lot of big things ahead for us.”
Bear River just couldn’t get anything going offensively. The Bruins finally managed to cross midfield with just 2:37 remaining in the first half. However, even that drive resulted in a punt. Bear River would later make it into the red zone during the fourth quarter and have first-and-goal, but Placer rose up to the challenge and buckled down to secure the shutout.
“We’ll lick our wounds and be back at it on Monday,” said Bruins co-head coach Terry Logue. “We’re looking to get the No. 1 seed in our playoff bracket. (Placer) is a high school of 1,400 kids and won’t be in our bracket. We just couldn’t get in the end zone. Maybe it would have put a little pressure on them. They won the game. It’s time to refocus now.”
The only real pressure felt all night was by Bruins quarterback Jason Voter, who dropped back and took a 9-yard sack on the final play of the game. Voter had trouble getting a grip on several pass attempts throughout the night, finishing 4-for-16 for 41 yards. Through the trenches Bear River didn’t fare much better, racking up 133 yards on 38 carries, an average of just 3.5 yard per rush.
The offense converted just 2-of-15 third down attempts and was 0-for-2 on fourth down tries. Ten possessions resulted in nine punts and one turnover on downs. Kyle Uclaray had 14 rushes for 65 yards, followed by David O’Brien, who had five carries for 31 yards. John Voter III contributed seven carries for 29 hard-fought yards. Dave Mastrella had two catches totaling 26 yards and Ryan Wagner grabbed a pair for 15.
Meanwhile, the Hillmen’s dynamic running attack, which featured tremendous trickery with its fake handoffs, speedy inside maneuvers and ball movement, had the Bruins on their heels much of the night. Placer rushed a total of 36 times for 234 yards and two touchdowns. Of course, the running game also opened the door to take some shots through the air and Placer capitalized.
Giving up big plays is something the Bruins have seldom done this season, but the Hillmen exposed some cracks and Bear River paid dearly for it. Placer senior quarterback Clark Pietromonaco was 8-for-15 for 203 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He also added three rushes for 71 yards, including a 51-yard sprint to the house to make it 14-0 in the first quarter.
The Bruins had plenty of opportunities and even held the ball longer than Placer during the course of the game, but it was clear the Bruins had their hands full with a quality opponent. Bear River fumbled the ball a few times, perhaps due to some sloppy field conditions, but they managed to recover every time and never committed a turnover. Placer simply executed.
Pietromonaco connected with Austin Hess for the first score of the game with a 24-yard zinger on a third-and-11. Hess would also make his presence felt on the ground, taking 11 carries for 42 yards and a touchdown. Owen Scott was explosive out of the backfield for the Hillmen, finishing with 10 touches for 65 yards.
The hot hand of Pietromonaco would continue to dissect the Bruin defense for substantial gains and the running game repeatedly wore down the Bruins to keep the chains moving. Frankie O’neal hauled in a game-high five catches for 111 yards and a touchdown, which came on a play-action that went for a 45-yard completion and completely bewildered the Bruins.
John Voter III and Kyle Krogman led the Bruins defense with nine tackles each. David O’Brien hauled in an interception and made an exceptional 40-yard return to near midfield as the first half came to a close.
Bear River (6-2, 2-1 PVL) will look to bounce back at home next week in a crucial PVL matchup against Center.
JV: Bear River 20, Placer 6
The Bruins (4-4, 3-0 PVL) remained perfect in PVL play as they extended their win streak to four games with an impressive outing versus the Hillmen Saturday night.
Bear River quarterback Bradley Dzioba threw a pair of touchdown passes, a 9-yard toss to Isaiah Baker and a 50-plus yard bomb to Peyton Turner, which opened up a 14-0 cushion. Turner later capped off the Bruins scoring with a 3-yard plunge to push the lead to 20-0. Defensively, Bear River dominated the Hillmen, keeping them off the scoreboard until just three minutes left in the game. Defensive standouts stepping up for the Bruins were Shane Flores, Zach Rubey and Asher Fong.
Brian Shepard is a freelance sports writer who contributes to The Union regularly.
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