Bruins remain undefeated in league
AUBURN – Nailing down their third straight win of the season, and moving to 2-0 in Pioneer Valley League play, Bear River’s Bruins headed back up Highway 49 Friday night with a 27-6 win over host Placer.
The Bruins (4-2 overall) dominated throughout the first half, building a 20-0 margin as senior quarterback/halfback/ safety C.J. Crausby ran for 115 yards and three touchdowns before halftime.
“That’s a typical Bear River team,” said Placer head coach Mike Sabins, whose Hillmen fell to 3-3 on the season and 1-1 in the PVL. “On offense they run the ball hard and on defense they swarm to the ball.”
The Bruin defense kept the hosts off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter and aside from the Hillmen’s late comeback attempt, kept Placer in check throughout.
While Placer quarterback Charlie Harrison threw for 109 yards, his Hillmen backfield managed a mere 69 rushing yards on 34 attempts.
After Placer pulled to within 20-6 late in the game, it was the Bear River defense that slammed the door shut on the Hillmen. Junior linebacker Matt Belnap picked off a Harrison pass in Bruin territory and returned the interception 63 yards for the final score with 33 seconds remaining.
“After I got it, I cut to the outside and I thought maybe I’d be caught by the first guy and I almost fell with the second guy, but then I had only the end zone the rest of the way,” said Belnap, who has three interceptions on the season, including two returned for touchdowns. “We came out great in the first half, but in the second half I thought we came out kind of flat.
“But we made some good stops. I think we did a pretty good job tonight.”
Offensively, Bear River set the tone on the Bruins’ first drive of the game. Twice the Bruins faced fourth-and-short situations and on both occasions, Bear River came up with first downs to keep the ball moving.
On fourth-and-2 at the Placer 44, Gary Schmidt dove behind his linemen to pick up the first down by the nose of the ball. On fourth-and-goal at the Placer 2-yard line, Crausby kept the ball out of shotgun formation and plowed into the end zone for the first score of the game.
“Absolutely, that set the tone,” said Bear River co-head coach Scott Savoie. “Sometimes you just have to lay it out there and go for it. It was early in the game and it was at midfield, the first time, and we took a shot and it paid off.
“Of course we took a shot in the fourth quarter and it didn’t work out. Sometimes you get it and you get your name in the paper and sometimes you don’t and you feel like an idiot, like I did in the fourth quarter.”
The shot the Bruins took in the fourth quarter came on fourth-and-1 at the 50, where Placer held tough with nearly nine minutes remaining the game and the Bruins leading 20-0.
After turning the ball over on downs, Bear River couldn’t stop the Hillmen from heading 51 yards downfield for their first score of the game.
But after Dallas Scott hit paydirt on fourth-and-goal from the Bruin 1, the point-after touchdown attempt by Keith Culley failed – as did Placer’s ensuing attempt at an onside kick, which was recovered by Bruin senior wide receiver Lars Nielsen.
On the night, the Bruins rushed for 210 yards on 41 carries. In addition to Crausby’s 119 yards on 15 carries, Schmidt rushed for 18 yards on five carries, Andy Parquette added 23 yards on 11 rushes and Hunter Tanquary had 21 yards on three runs.
Placer was led by Ross Moskwa’s 51 yards on 16 carries.
Belnap led the team in tackles with 18 total, including eight solo stops. Mitchell Miltano had 13 tackles, including six solo, while Axel Wadman had 14 tackles (four solo) and an interception. Jon Duckett also had an interception, while Joel Davis finished with two quarterback sacks.
“We’re going to celebrate this one. It’s a great win. We beat a good football team tonight,” said Savoie, who then reflected for a moment on how well the team has progressed since its first preseason practices.
Returning only five players with varsity experience, Savoie said the Bruins have made strides each week, from a 1-2 start to their current 4-2 record.
“They’ve come a long ways,” he said. “But we’ve still got a long ways to go.”
The next stop on that journey is a home date with PVL foe Mesa Verde next Friday night.
JV: Placer 21, Bear River 7
Brandon Vallero scored on a 64-yard touchdown run for Bear River, but the Bruins fell short of Placer 21-7 in Friday night’s junior varsity matchup.
“It was a tough game,” said Bruin head coach Duane Zauner. “They’re a good team and we made too many mistakes.
“We had too many turnovers and against a good team you’re don’t win ball games when you do that.”
The Bruins lost a pair of fumbles and Placer also intercepted a Bear River pass.
“We played solid football, but even if you play solid against a good team you still can’t make that many mistakes and expect to win.”
The Bruins slipped to 4-2 overall and 1-1 in Pioneer Valley League play with the loss. Placer improved to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the PVL.
Frosh: Bear River 28, Placer 6
Bear River’s freshmen remained undefeated through six games with a 28-6 win over Placer in PVL action Thursday night.
The touchdown by Placer, which came in the final seconds of the game, was the first allowed by the Bruins this season. Bear River has defeated its six opponents by a combined 197-6.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had a team get off to a start like this,” said Bruin coach Dick Werntz. “This is going to be a good group. There’s a lot of good skill players, but there’s also a lot of great linemen. We’re deep with linemen.”
Those linemen helped Brandon Fry score on touchdown runs of 44 and 21 yards. Fry was also the Bruins’ leading tackler on the night.
Cody Van Fossen scored on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Bruin quarterback Brian Pedro. Cole White got the final score for Bear River on a 3-yard plunge into the end zone. White was the team’s second-leading tackler for the Bruins.
Despite the win, Werntz said his players weren’t very happy with the game’s final score. The Bruins had not allowed a single score through 23 quarters of play this season, until Placer scored on its touchdown pass late in the game.
“It was silent on our sideline,” Werntz said. “It was like they couldn’t believe what happened. We had to remind them that they’d won the game.”
Bear River 27, Placer 6
BR (4-2) 14 6 0 7 – 27
P (3-3) 0 0 0 6 – 6
BR – C.J. Crausby 2 run (Kick failed), 3:59
BR – Crausby 10 run (Axel Wadman pass from Crausby), 1:45
BR – Crausby 5 run (Kick failed), 5:04
P – Dallas Scott 1 run (Kick failed), 4:31
BR – Matt Belnap 62 interception return (Jared Murnan kick), :33
First downs 12 9
Rushes-yards 41-210 34-69
Passing 43 109
Comp-Att-Int 4-9-1 9-19-3
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties 8-60 3-30
Rushing -Bear River, Crausby 15-119, Andy Parquette 11-23, Gary Schmidt 5-18, Wadman 2-10, Hunter Tanquary 3-21, David Richey 5-19. Placer, Ross Moskwa 16-51, Scott 6-5, Bobby Classon 7-24, Joey Jacinto 1-(minus 2), Charlie Harrison 3-(minus 13), Aaron Heffernan1-4.
Passing – Bear River, Crausby 4-9-1 for 43 yards. Placer, Harrison 9-19-3 for 109 yards.
Receiving – Bear River, Tanquary 1-4, Wadman 2-24, Lars Nielsen 1-15. Placer, Keith Culley 3-59, Adam Fry 2-17, Heffernan 2-16, John Kok 1-7, Moskwa 1-10.
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