Bruins go back to basics for win
CITRUS HEIGHTS – Bear River’s football team had come to know the bitter taste of defeat and disappointment in the last three weeks. So when the Bruins tasted salt Friday night, it was a welcomed situation.
In a resounding, quick-strike fashion, Bear River (4-2-1 overall, 1-2 Pioneer Valley League) beat host Mesa Verde (1-6 overall, 0-4 PVC) 35-14 in a rainy contest.
The Bruins, who have made it their team motto to get back on track and salvage playoff hopes for the season, got back to basics. And they did it the Bruin way.
Bear River marched 71 yards on their first possession in six plays, capped by a 5-yard touchdown run by fullback Gary Schmidt.
Free safety Brad Smith got an interception on the Mavericks’ next drive and the Bruins marched 56 more yards, keyed by a 35-yard run by Christopher Parfitt. Schmidt punched in his second touchdown of the night on a 1-yard dive to finish that drive as well.
The Bruins amassed 21 first downs in the game, a sign that the offense picked up at a key moment in the season.
“We knew that this just had to be a win,” Schmidt said. “We were sick of losing.”
Schmidt’s two touchdowns was two-thirds of the Bruins’ 21-point first quarter, in which they dominated the Mavericks in every aspect of the game.
Brandon Vallero added a 1-yard touchdown run to finish the first-quarter scoring bonanza.
Andy Parquette came on in the second half to score two touchdowns to add to his team lead 11 for the Bruins in a day that their offense was just as lethal as their defense, scoring on each of its first three series.
But the first quarter burst wasn’t enough to detract the Mavericks from giving up on the game with a 21-0 hole.
Mesa Verde quarterback Andrew Greene came on fire in the second quarter, completing three straight passes for 22, 28 and five yards to bring the Mavericks down to the 10-yard line.
Brandon Dobson then scored on a 10-yard run to put the Mavericks on the board. The team failed on the extra point attempt, making the score 21-6.
Greene amassed 224 passing yards against the Bruins, including a 61-yard touchdown strike to receiver Rashad Hines, his favorite target. But as the rain started to pour on, the quarterback’s receivers started to drop passes.
“I thought that’s what they’d do,” said Bear River co-head coach and defensive leader Terry Logue. “They’re not able to sustain a running game. But hey, you got to use your athletes to the best of their abilities. They put him in that shotgun and man they played a heckuva game.”
But Greene wasn’t the only quarterback showing off his rhythm in the game. The tandem of Bruins quarterback Drew Loftus and receiver Garrett Barbic made for a silky smooth combination as the two hooked up for four receptions and 79 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown that was called back because of a pass interference penalty.
In many respects, it was a prolific day for Loftus, who threw 8-for-12 for 126 yards in a run-dominated offense – before it started raining in the second half.
“Every single pass he threw to me was perfect,” Barbic said after the game.
Said Loftus: “We knew (opponents) have been keying in on Barbic so we had changed it up. But this week we wanted to come back to him and take advantage of his height and leaping ability.”
Add in a solid running game and the Bruins have a win to be proud about.
Parfitt led the team with 114 yards rushing and Matt Belnap added another 90.
The defense was solid in its pass defense, racking up two interceptions on the day, one by Smith and another by Brandon Webb. Bear River had only gotten one interception all year until this point. And the defense accounted for five sacks, leading to Bear River’s coaches enjoying the all-around effort.
“Three words: Back-on-track,” said co-head coach Scott Savoie to his team after the game. “It’s going to feel really, really good to go to bed tonight with a win.”
JV: Bear River 27, Mesa Verde 6
Johnny Jewett ran wild against to lead the Bruins past the Mavericks 27-6 for the seventh win in Bear River’s perfect season.
Jewett totaled 101 yards on 12 carries with one touchdown. He also caught a 39-yard bomb from quarterback Brian Pedro for another touchdown.
Pedro threw two touchdowns on the day. His first touchdown was a 4-yard strike to Cody Van Fossen, who also kicked all of the team’s extra points.
Bear River 35, Mesa Verde 14
Bear River (4-2-1) 21 0 7 7 – 35
Mesa Verde (1-6) 0 6 0 8 – 14
BR – Gary Schmidt 4 run (Jared Murnan kick good), 9:07
BR – Schmidt 1 run (Murnan kick good), 5:36
BR – Vallero 1 run (Murnan kick good), 1:22
MV – Brandon Dobson 10 run (kick failed), 5:29
BR – Andy Parquette 1 run (Murnan kick good), 6:30
MV – Rashad Hines 61 pass from Andrew Greene (Hines pass from Greene), 9:45
BR – Parquette 8 run (Murnan kick good), 5:56
To contact Sports Writer Zuri Berry, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4244.
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Grass Valley native Brad Sweet drove past the competition and into victory lane last week, snapping his longest winless streak of the season.