High-flying Bruins take on slumping Mavs
Bear River and Mesa Verde couldn’t be in the midst of more opposite streaks as they meet at 7:30 tonight inside Ramsey Stadium.
The Bruins (4-2 overall, 2-0 Pioneer Valley League) have won their last three games entering the third week of the PVL football season, averaging five touchdowns in each of those contests. The Mavericks, meanwhile, have lost their last three after surging to 3-0 to start the season.
With an 0-3 PVL record, Mesa Verde hasn’t scored in nine quarters.
But, as Bear River co-head coach Terry Logue points out, this is the second week the Mavericks have tailback Rickey Abernathy back in the lineup. Abernathy, who Logue called the best running back in the league, was on the injured list for the third, fourth and fifth games of the season.
“We’re not going to take them lightly,” Logue said. “They got their best running back back. He played last week and had a 90-yard touchdown called back.”
The Mavericks fell 7-0 last Friday against Whitney, which the Bruins beat 35-7 on Oct. 6. Mesa Verde’s previous two losses were against PVL foes Lincoln, 14-9, and Colfax, 44-0.
Even though he has only played in three games this season, Abernathy has gained just one yard fewer than his team’s leading rusher, Matt Bankert. Bankert has carried the ball 58 times for 330 yards and three touchdowns, while Abernathy has 30 carries for 329 yards and four scores.
Logue added that the Mavericks’ passing game is nothing to ignore, although quarterback Jake Warner has completed fewer than half of his passes with just three touchdowns, while throwing six interceptions.
The Bruins are coming off what Logue said was their strongest showing of the season: a 27-6 win at Placer (3-3, 1-1 PVL).
“I just got through watching the film,” Logue said Tuesday. “By far, to me, that’s our best win.”
The victory at Placer was another display of Bear River quarterback C.J. Crausby’s versatility. While passing for his 564th yard of the season, Crausby also scored three rushing touchdowns and improved his team-leading rushing total to 234 yards.
Also getting more action away from his listed position last Friday was senior tight end Axel Wadman, who took his second and third handoffs of the season for a total of 10 yards.
“Those are our best two players,” Logue said of Crausby and Wadman. “They’re our seniors that played every game last year. We want to try to get the ball in their hands in critical parts of the game … The use of C.J. a little bit more at running back has given us a breakaway threat, which we didn’t have earlier in the year.”
Wadman is the team’s leading receiver, with 17 catches for 232 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
In last season’s meeting between Bear River and Mesa Verde, the Bruins prevailed, 38-7. Bear River also holds a 4-1 all-time record against the Mavericks, who last beat Bear River in 2003.
To contact Sports Writer Jeff Miller, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4247.
Mesa Verde (3-3) at Bear River (4-2)
Rushing – Mesa Verde, Matt Bankert 58-330 and 3 TDs, Rickey Abernathy 30-329 and 4 TDs, Sam Wooten 39-156. Bear River, C.J. Crausby 37-234 and 5 TDs, Matt Belnap 19-202, Andy Parquette 73-190 and 5 TDs.
Passing – Mesa Verde, Jake Warner 46-99-6 for 449 yards and 3 TDs, Greg Fulks 1-1-0 for 21 yards. Bear River, C.J. Crausby 30-57-2 for 564 yards and 4 TDs, Drew Loftus 5-14-0 for 76 yards.
Receiving – Mesa Verde, R.J. Williams 13-106 and 1 TD, Garett West 11-96, Desmond Thompson 8-103 and 2 TDs. Bear River, Axel Wadman 17-232 and 2 TDs, Lars Nielsen 10-278 and 2 TDs, Hunter Tanquary 3-53.
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