PREP FOOTBALL: Bear River drops PVL opener at Lincoln
Special to The Union
ZEBRAS 33, BRUINS 13
L: Harry Rounds 66-yard pass from Tommy Turner (extra point blocked) 5:29
L: Seth Sampson 8-yard pass from Turner (2-point try no good) :48
L: James Sweet 28-yard pass from Turner (kick good) :30
BR: Travis Carpenter 1-yard run (2-point try no good) 5:26
BR: Calder Kunde 70-yard pass from Luke Baggett (Alex Bohn kick) 10:06
L: Sweet 99-yard kickoff return (2-point try good) 9:51
L: Sampson 6-yard run (extra point no good) 7:12
LINCOLN —The Bear River football Bruins are no longer unblemished after clashing with Pioneer Valley League foe Lincoln and falling, 33-13, Friday night.
“Pretty proud of the fact we were down, held without a score in the first half and came back,” said Bruins co-head coach Scott Savoie. “In the fourth quarter we were right back in the game.”
Trailing 19-0 at the half, Bear River stormed back with two second half touchdowns to pull within a score, down just 19-13 with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. However, the wheels came off shortly after with a 99-yard kickoff return by Lincoln, a Bear River interception and another Lincoln score to seal it.
“In big games there’s going to be a handful of key plays and unfortunately tonight, Lincoln made them when they needed to,” added Savoie. “Kickoff return was a huge, huge, huge play for them and a punch in the gut for us.”
Not aiding the Bruins bid at a road upset were five turnovers, which included coughing up three fumbles inside the Fighting Zebras 25-yard line. The Bruins also lost a key playmaker in senior running back Stephen Taylor, who exited the game with an injury just four minutes into the contest.
“It’s really too bad,” explained Bear River co-head coach Terry Logue. “In the first half it should have been a one score game at the most. We had two long drives that ended in fumbles… Really proud of the defense, even though they got 33 points. We made them punt more times than they had punted all year, I know that.”
Senior Travis Carpenter got the Bruins on the board with a 1-yard plunge to cap off the opening drive of the third quarter. Bear River marched 80 yards on 14 plays and overcame third down situations three times.
Senior quarterback Luke Baggett added the Bruins second score early in the fourth quarter on third-and-10, throwing a laser, deep downfield into the outstretched arms of Calder Kunde, who broke a shoestring tackle and tumbled into the end zone for a 70-yard touchdown.
Baggett finished the game 15-of-26 passing for 237 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Kunde hauled in eight passes for 151 yards and a score, followed by Dillon Scott, who grabbed five for 61 yards.
Out of the backfield, the Bruins were led by sophomore Tre Maronic with 25 yards on six carries. The team rushed for 83 yards on 33 touches.
Bear River’s defense forced Lincoln to punt five times throughout the game and held the Zebras quarterback Tommy Turner to 10-of-21 passing for 161 yards, but he did throw three touchdowns to go with an interception.
Lincoln’s ground game found the holes when it needed to and kept the clock running late, rushing for 136 yards on 36 carries and one score.
Defensively for the Bruins, Austin Baze led with 14 tackles, followed by Baggett with seven. Maronic nabbed an interception to go with four tackles.
Turner got the Zebras off to a good start, capitalizing on a Bruins fumble early, tossing a 66-yard touchdown pass to Harry Rounds. Turner later dialed one up for receiver Seth Sampson, an 8-yard screen, which put the Zebras ahead 12-0, and again right at the end of the first half he found James Sweet for a 28-yard score, to go up 19-0.
The Bear River-Lincoln matchup also closed a memorable chapter Friday night as the Zebras will no longer call the PVL home next season, moving to the newly formed Foothill Valley League.
“It’s been a weird, strange, crazy, wild ride,” said Lincoln head coach and former Bear River junior varsity coach Chris Bean. “In some ways I’m kind of glad it’s over to be honest with you. I just have so much love and respect for that school that sometimes it is hard looking across and seeing those guys, but I’m also going to miss these moments. I’m not going to be able to see these kids a bunch and it’s almost like that last clip of the cord if you will. It’s bittersweet. I just respect these kids to death, watched a certain stud little quarterback named Luke Baggett grow up. It’s going to be hard not to have that to come to anymore anyway. I miss them already.”
Bear River (5-1, 0-1 PVL) will have another crack at its first league win next week at Foothill (1-6, 0-1 PVL).
JV: LINCOLN 36, BEAR RIVER 6
The junior varsity Bruins (2-3, 0-1 PVL) couldn’t quite get anything going as they fell to the Zebras, 36-6.
Bear River quarterback Colton Jenkins scored the Bruins’ only touchdown on a 6-yard run late in the first half to make it 22-6. Lincoln pulled away down the stretch and remained stout on defense.
Brian Shepard is a freelance sports writer who contributes to The Union regularly.
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