Bear River throttles Union Mine after sluggish start
Special to The Union
Overcoming a very sloppy start in the first quarter, Bear River’s defense stepped up to the challenge and found a way to stop the bleeding against visiting Union Mine Friday night.
After surrendering only one touchdown early, the Bruins silenced the Diamondbacks for the remainder of the game to notch their first win of the season, 29-6.
“That was ugly,” said Bear River co-head coach Scott Savoie, referring to his team’s first quarter offensive meltdown in which they fumbled three times. “Our defense kept us in the game and gave us a chance to get our offensive composure back. Union Mine was pretty tough up front.”
The three Bruin fumbles gave the Diamondbacks prime field position, but Bear River’s defense was relentless and wrapped up 27 tackles in the first half alone. In fact, the Bruins’ first nine points were generated by the defense.
After a Bear River punt pinned Union Mine inside its own 10-yard line the Bruins defensive push sent the Diamondbacks backwards. On third and long from their own two yard line, senior Connor Hollister delivered a bone crushing hit for a safety to get the Bruins on the board.
“It was as good a defense we played in a long time,” said Bruins co-head coach Terry Logue, who earned his 199th career win. “They were inside the 10 at least three times. It was a tremendous team defense. It was amazing we stopped them that many times to keep ourselves in the game.”
On Union Mine’s next offensive possession operating from their own 16-yard line, senior quarterback Brody Pearman dropped back in the pocket as the offensive line let Bruin defenders through for what was intended to be a screen. Bear River senior Travis Whitehead read Pearman like a book and snatched the pass for an 8-yard pick-six to give the Bruins a 9-6 lead.
In the second half Bear River’s offense finally found its rhythm and took care of the football, scoring three touchdowns. The first came on a fourth-and-one from the Union Mine 6-yard line. Senior back John Voter III would not be denied.
“We kept pounding it down on offense,” said Voter, who led the team in rushing with 13 carries for 66 yards and a pair of touchdowns. “Our offensive line did a hell of a job. We were eventually going to break it. We wore them down. That’s what we do.”
On the first play from scrimmage in the fourth quarter, the Bruins capped off a 63-yard drive when senior quarterback Austin Smith found wide receiver Ryan Wagner from 18 yards out on a crucial fourth-and-eight.
“That was pretty frustrating with the fumbles,” said senior Ryan Wagner, who led the team with five receptions for 45 yards and grabbed a score. “We told everyone to double wrap and keep it going. We had a big talk in the locker room and came out fired up.”
Voter found the endzone one more time on an 8-yard run to all but seal the game with 5:24 to play. Catches made by Whitehead and Kyle Uclaray had help set up the score.
Smith finished the game 10-of-17 passing for 123 yards with one touchdown. Junior Kyle Uclaray contributed 23 yards rushing on 10 touches and also had two receptions for 44 yards.
Defensively Bear River was a beast, tallying 45 tackles, including 13 for a loss and five sacks. Kyle Krogman brought the pain as he wrapped up 10 solo tackles. Hollister grabbed an interception and also dished out 6.5 tackles, followed by Voter, who contributed 5.5.
The Diamondbacks’ junior quarterback Pearman finsihed the night 2-of-14 passing for 15 yards with two interceptions. Union Mine’s rushing attack didn’t fair much better with Austin Rigsby getting 22 touches for just 53 yards and one touchdown. The Bruins held Union Mine to an average of 3.5 yards per carry.
With the victory the Bruins (1-1) will try and get Logue to the 200-win milestone next week in its first road game of the season at Argonaut.
JV: Union Mine 21, Bear River 19
The Bruins mounted a late comeback with a 7-yard touchdown run by quarterback Bradley Dzioba on fourth-and-goal to pull within 14 points and later added another score on a 67-yard hookup from Dzioba to #4. That’s as close as Bear River would get however, as it failed on its two-point conversion with just a couple minutes to play and the Diamondbacks ran out the clock on offense.
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