After surrendering a 21-point lead in the second half of Friday’s football showdown versus Eureka, the Bear River Bruins’ football world was turned upside down, and they knew there was no time for excuses.
Yet despite all that had gone wrong and its back against the wall, Bear River woke up and found a way to answer the call when it needed to the most — a characteristic demonstrated among all great teams. Senior quarterback Braden Duncan took a huge step forward as a leader, showing he could not only manage pressure but overcome it. Receivers Kris Edie and Hunter Cramer both proved they, too, could come through in the clutch with their crucial grabs. Co-head coaches Terry Logue and Scott Savoie showed confidence in their offense by going for it on fourth-and-9 to put the game away.
Defensively, the team also came together when it counted most. After Bear River retook the lead 27-23, it forced Eureka into a fourth-and-long and came up with the stop on the Bruins’ 32-yard line. The Loggers would even have one more crack at it, but that drive was foiled by the hands of Edie, who snatched an interception.
After holding the Loggers to just 38 yards rushing and 34 yards passing in the first half, the Bruins suddenly couldn’t find a way to stop them. A Eureka screen pass went 46 yards for a touchdown and from there its offense just took off. The Loggers rushed 15 times for 152 yards on their way to putting up 23 unanswered points.
Bear River’s downfall all seemed to begin right before halftime with about 1 minute, 30 seconds remaining when it had the ball deep in its own territory with a 21-0 lead. The Bruins looked content to just run out the clock and get to the locker room, but the Loggers used their timeouts to prolong the half before Bear River eventually was able to take a knee.
From there, the Bruin offense would have five possessions and pick up only one first down until its game-winning drive midway through the fourth quarter. The five possessions resulted in three punts, a fumble and a safety. With the Loggers’ offense on the field as opposed to the sideline, it was finally able to find its stride and cash in.
The first half, however, was quite another story for Bear River as it sustained two long scoring drives and had an interception returned for a touchdown. The first drive came on its first possession and began at its own 20-yard line. The Bruins marched 80 yards in 15 plays and bled most of the clock in the first quarter. Duncan was 4-of-4 passing as the offense mixed it up well with runs and passes. Michael Tipton broke through to the secondary for a gain of 17 yards, and Brad Botsford capped it off with an 18-yarder to score.
On its next possession the Bruins also ate up a lot of clock and scored on an 18-play 68-yard drive. Junior Ryan Wagner got involved this time, hauling in two receptions with the second one being for a touchdown. Bear River put itself in danger of coming up empty when it was flagged for a block below the waist on first-and-goal from the Eureka 3-yard line. Duncan took a sack on the next play, and the Bruins found themselves with second-and-goal from the Eureka 22. Duncan would find Wagner on third-and-goal as he bought time with his legs in the backfield and fired a strike to Wagner.
Bear River’s ability to stay on the field for a long duration of time and wear down its opponent is going to be especially important this Friday when it hosts Colfax, which has been lighting up the scoreboard with its passing attack. The Bruins can also move forward now knowing they withstood a challenge and gained valuable experience, which will provide a mental boost should a similar scenario surface.
Colfax 48, Mesa Verde 19
The Falcons finished a perfect non-league schedule with their 31-point drubbing of Mesa Verde.
Colfax quarterback Michael Wilson continued his torrid pace, tallying seven touchdowns against the Mavericks to give him 22 on the season. Wilson went 24-of-39 for 346 yards, averaging 14.4 yards per completion.
Having a career night on the receiving end was Chas Reisinger with 10 catches for 188 yards and four touchdowns. On the season, Reisinger has 32 catches for 589 yards and nine touchdowns. The senior receiver has gone for more than 100 yards receiving in three of the Falcons first five games.
Marcus Jackson had his biggest impact of the season with three touchdown catches on four receptions.
Colfax added running back Tim Rawlins into the mix for the first time this season and the junior didn’t disappoint. Rawlings ate up 127 yards on the ground on just 13 carries in his season debut.
The Falcons (5-0) head into their Friday Pioneer Valley League showdown with Bear River riding a five-game win streak and having outscored their last three opponents 127-26.
Woodcreek 48, Placer 47
The Hillmen are struggling, and when the game was on the line, they came up just short.
Placer fell to 1-4 this season, losing to Woodcreek Friday by a single point.
Placer had led for most of the game, but Woodcreek rallied late and held Placer on a potentially game-winning two-point try to seal the win.
Woodcreek was trailing by a touchdown in the fourth, 34-27, but tied it up on a Malcolm Johnson receiving touchdown.
Placer’s Logan Strange then put Placer back on top with a 12-yard strike to Bart Every.
Woodcreek answered back with 60-yard touchdown by Lenny Nelson, tying the game at 41 apiece.
The Timberwolves took their first lead of the game, 48-41, with about two minutes left in the game on a Dylan Stacy 10-yard touchdown run.
With less than a minute left in the game Placer’s Cameron Scott scored from 4 yards out to bring the Hillmen to within a point, but the two-point try was unsuccessful and Placer lost for the fourth time in five games this season.
Placer opens the PVL season Friday at Foothill.
Vanden 41, Center 34
The Cougars opened the season 3-0 with wins over Encina Prep, Chico and River Valley but have since hit a rough patch, losing to Rio Linda Sept. 27 and falling Friday to Vanden.
The Cougars had outscored their opponents 104-18 through the first three weeks, but during their two-game skid, they have been outscored 58-34, including being shutout by Rio Linda.
Center (3-2) opens PVL play Friday at Lincoln.
Lincoln 36, Oakmont 25
The Fighting Zebra’s went to work on the ground against Oakmont, racking up 433 yards rushing as Lincoln trampled the Vikings.
Junior running back Dane Stimbert was the work Zebra with 28 carries for 228 yards and three touchdowns. Senior Eddy Cobleigh added 132 yards and three touchdowns, and Landon Croisant chipped in 47 yards.
On the defensive end, Davis Dykstra grabbed an interception and Aaron Soto led the team with 10 tackles.
The Zebra’s (4-1) open their SFL season at home against Center.
Foothill (1-4) bye.
To contact Sports Writer Brian Shepard, call 530-477-4234 or email email@example.com.
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The Little League District 11 postseason is off to a hot start.