PREP FOOTBALL: Bear River crushes Colfax, showdown with Placer next (VIDEO)
Special to The Union
BRUINS 41, FALCONS 14
BR: Austin Baze 4-yard run (1:55) Ben O’Lena kick
C: Lukas Rineer 1-yard run (10:05) Kyle Detwieler kick
BR: Baze 1-yard run (2:47) O’Lena kick
BR: Dave Mastrella 18-yard pass from Jason Voter (:10) O’Lena kick
BR: Baze 8-yard run (2:09) O’Lena kick
BR: Toran Maronic 48 yard pass from Voter (11:03) O’Lena kick
BR: Bradley Dzioba 2-yard run (5:54) PAT no good
C: Matthew Harshman 63-yard pass from Austin Weir (4:57) Detwieler kick
It was a pad-popping, rivalry-romp Friday night at J. David Ramsey Stadium with the Bear River football Bruins sticking it to the Colfax Falcons, 41-14.
The victory moves Bear River to 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the Pioneer Valley League, and also extends its current win streak to 12 games, dating back to Oct. 25 of last season when they lost 28-0 at Placer. More importantly, notching its second PVL win all but ensures the Bruins a playoff bid.
“I’ve never seen a 7-3 team not get in the playoffs,” said Bear River co-head coach Terry Logue. “Colfax played hard, played really well. With their JV and freshmen teams, Tony (Martello) is going to be sitting pretty for the next three years so we better take these wins when we can get them.”
For now though, the bitter taste of defeat will just have to sit with the Falcons a little bit longer as they dropped their third straight to the Bruins.
At the beginning the season the Bruins featured an abundance of talent in the backfield, but the team has slowly watched football take its toll with injuries. Without Kyle Uclaray, Riley Mispley and now senior David O’Brien, the Bruins dug deep and still managed to handle Colfax with ease thanks to tremendous blocking up front and a relentless defense.
Sophomore Austin Baze steamrolled defenders, taking 13 carries for 67 yards and three touchdowns. Junior Toran Maronic took 10 touches for 54 yards and senior Dave Mastrella added 36 yards on seven carries. Jason Voter also had plenty of opportunities with wide open receivers downfield. Mastrella grabbed an 18-yard touchdown and Maronic hauled in a 48-yard score.
“Austin had a big night, he really did,” said Bruins co-head coach Scott Savoie. “I think part of that is that they had to stop Maronic and Mastrella out there on the flies and on the flanks. That kind of opened some things up on the side. That made a big night for Austin. He was real physical down here in the center of the field on a few of those runs.”
With the trio of backs running different formations, it was Baze who performed one play with more success than the others.
“(Baze) had the play that was working, the inside trap, and we ran it a lot and he capitalized on that,” added Logue.
Making things happen
Setting the tone early with its first drive, Bear River marched 75 yards in 18 plays and overcame two fourth downs before Baze plowed in for the score. Baze picked up a fourth-and-1 to extend the drive and later, on a fourth-and-12 from the Falcons’ 32 yard line, Voter found Mastrella on pass up the sideline.
Baze also came up big on the receiving end in the form of shovel passes with two catches for 45 yards. Once in open space Baze proved hard to bring down, not necessarily dodging defenders but rather taking dead aim.
“We made some changes,” said Voter, who finished passing 9-for-17 for 178 yards and two touchdowns. “We moved Mastrella to O’Brien’s spot and that worked out pretty well. I think Baze really came alive tonight and was really running over people. I mean heck I wouldn’t want to tackle him. And our line, there were some big holes after I handed it off. I would look a the holes and they were just gaping. I’m proud of the line. They gave me so much time to do what I needed to do and it was great.”
Ben O’Lena hauled in three catches for 51 yards, including a 41-yarder down to the Colfax 1-yard line to set up the Bruins first-and-goal. On that play, Baze made two key blocks in the backfield allowing Voter to get off the pass. Baze would take it the rest of the way with a 1-yard touchdown plunge.
Mastrella, who grabbed two receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown, came up with a huge 18-yard touchdown reception with 10 seconds remaining in the first half to put the Bruins up 21-7.
Getting after Colfax wasn’t an issue for the Bruin defense. Falcons quarterback Austin Weir felt the heat most of the game, tossing two interceptions, both of which the Bruins eventually turned into touchdowns. It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter trailing 41-7 that Weir found Matthew Harshman for a 63-yard score.
Falcons’ senior running back Lukas Rineer, who had previously eclipsed 100 yards rushing in every game this season was held to just 91 yards on 24 carries and one touchdown.
Field position was also won by Bear River on special teams as it forced two horrendous punts totaling a combined 19 yards. Both times the Bruins took over possession well inside Colfax territory.
Penalties and injuries didn’t so much plague the Bruins as they had in the previous weeks.
“We’ll enjoy this one first,” said Savoie. “Enjoy this one tonight and tomorrow, and Monday you got to come ready to go.”
Now the focus shifts to Placer (7-0, 2-0 PVL) who visits the Bruins on Senior Night this Friday.
“It’s going to be a very special situation,” added Logue. “It’s not all the time 7-0 versus 7-0 so it’s going to be fun.”
Brian Shepard is a freelance sports writer who contributes to The Union regularly.
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