Bruins hold off fiesty Center for win
Bear River left their home field with a 41-26 victory over Center Friday night, but hardly anybody on the team looked to be in celebratory mood.
Center (1-6 overall, 0-2 Pioneer Valley League), a team that has struggled this season, hung with the Bruins (5-2 overall, 1-1 league) for the first half of the homecoming game and into much of the second half.
Also Bruins’ running back Sam Houston had to be helped off the field late in the fourth quarter with a leg injury.
“Preliminarily, it’s a kneecap bruise,” said Co-head coach Terry Logue. “We’re sure hoping he’s here next week.”
Like most weeks this season, Houston was the Bruins leading rusher Friday.
Houston had 15 carries for 178 yards, including a touchdown.
Still, it was an ugly game.
“I give Center a ton of credit,” Logue said. “They came ready to play. We did not. We had a terrible week of practice.”
Bear River let the Cougars off the hook too many times, allowing them to convert numerous fourth downs, Logue said.
“It’s a wake-up call and now we have to play one of the best teams in the league,” Logue said referring to next week’s matchup with Lincoln.
Bruins went into halftime up 14-12 and the only reason the Cougars weren’t ahead was because they missed two two-point conversions.
The Bruins scored first in the second half on a four-yard run from Josh Toft, putting Bear River up 21-12 after the successful point-after attempt.
Nearly a minute later, the Cougars stormed back with a 26-yard run from Dejuan Bellaire for a touchdown. Quarterback Devin Eldredge kept the ball himself for the two-point conversion to pull Center within 21-20.
That would be as close as Center would get.
Bear River put some more distance between the two teams with two touchdowns, a three-yard run by Sean O’Brien and a 12-yard run from Toft before Center answered back.
The Cougars scored on an 11-yard quarterback keeper by Eldredge, but Center was unable to score on the two-point conversion to put the score at 35-26.
Toft ran the ball in from 25 yards out with 2:27 left in the game to give the Bruins the final tally.
Toft had 14 carries for 145 yards and three touchdowns in the game.
The defense was led by Tyler Quirarte with 13 tackles. Jimmy Bamburg had nine tackles, and assisted on a sack. Michael Mascari had 12 tackles and one sack.
Bear River now has defeated Center 14 straight times, including a playoff game in 2004. The Bruins defeated the Cougars in the last matchup in 2007, 38-0.
The Bruins are in the thick of the Pioneer Valley League schedule, with Lincoln, Foothill and Colfax to come in the next three weeks.
Bear River’s next game is 7:30 p.m. next Friday at home against Lincoln.
JV: Bear River 35, Center 7
“I’m proud of the way you came out,” said junior varsity head coach Chris Bean, addressing his team after the game.
“We wanted to establish and set the tone from the start and we did that,” Bean added.
But he told his team they let up at the end, allowing Center to score their only touchdown with four minutes left in the game.
Quarterback Dillon Smith had a good game offensively, Bean said.
“The offensive line gave him all sorts of time and the receivers caught the ball,” Bean said.
Andrew Reiss, Zach Winter and Austin Dowling ran in touchdowns. Tevyn Kimble and Hayden Macklin caught touchdown passes.
Contact Sports Writer Greg Moberly via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 477-4234.
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