PREP FOOTBALL: Bear River falls to Center, 27-21 (VIDEO)
Cougars 27, Bruins 21
BR: Jon Good 38-yard interception return (7:33) Ben O’Lena kick
BR: Beau Baggett 4-yard run (9:58) O’Lena kick good
C: Cameron Pierini 17-yard pass (3:55) kick good
C: Marcellus Roberts 38-yard run (7:37) kick blocked
BR: Baggett 5-yard run (9:01) O’Lena kick
C: Roberts 10-yard run (4:43) 2-point try no good
C: Roberts 4-yard run (1:06) 2-point try good
The Bruins simply couldn’t hold on to the football Friday night and it led to their second loss of the season.
Bear River (7-2, 2-2 PVL) turned the ball over five times (three fumbles, two interceptions) and let an eight point lead slip away in the final minutes as they lost to Pioneer Valley League foe Center, 27-21, in Antelope.
“Obviously the turnovers killed us,” Bear River co-head coach Scott Savoie said after the game.
Savoie was also quick to give Center credit for battling the Bruins tough all game.
“I think Center did a great job tonight,” Savoie said. “Their backs are to the wall and they were looking for their first PVL win, and you need two to get into the playoffs, and we knew that coming in. We knew they were going to be tough to handle. Center is always scary anyway because they are so physical and so athletic.”
The Bruins dominated the game early with their defense, grabbing two first half interceptions and holding the Cougars (5-4, 1-3 PVL) to just six first half points.
Bear River got on the board early in the first quarter when Jon Good picked off a short Cougars pass and took it back 38-yards for the score. The Bruins then made it 14-0 in the second quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run by Beau Baggett.
But in the second half, the Bruins offense began to sputter and Center’s offense began to open up.
The Cougars crept to within one after a nifty 38-yard run by Marcellus Roberts. The talented back was just getting started. Roberts would finish the game with 115 rushing yards and three second half touchdowns.
Baggett plowed in for a 5-yard touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter to put Bear River up 21-13, but that would be the final highlight of the night for the Bear River offense.
Center responded with a long drive capped by a 10-yard touchdown run by Roberts with 4:43 left on the clock. Center missed the 2-point try and trailed 21-19.
The Bruins fumbled the ball away on the very first play of the ensuing drive, setting Center up in the red zone.
The Cougars chipped away at the Bruins defense, taking 5-yards at a time and milking the clock along the way. Roberts then sliced into the end zone from 4-yards out, and Center added the two-point conversion to go up 27-21 with a little more than a minute left in the game.
Bear River quarterback Jason Voter completed a couple passes to move the ball across the 50-yard line, but with about 20 seconds on the clock he threw an interception that sealed the game for Center. Voter finished the night 8-of-17 for 72 yards and two interceptions.
Bear River’s offense as a whole struggled throughout the game, amassing only 134 yards from scrimmage.
“I don’t know exactly why,” Savoie said of his team’s offensive struggles. “We’re just in a little bit of a funk. I don’t get it. It was just one of those nights.”
The Bruins ground game found little room to run as it totaled 62 yards in 29 carries. Baggett led all Bear River rushers with 32 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries.
Baggett was the Bruins leading tackler on the defensive side, totaling 11.5 in the game. Senior linebacker Connor Hollister made nine tackles and Dave Mastrella added seven. Also contributing on the defensive side of the ball was Mason Picard with an interception and Colton Wood with a punt block.
Bear River’s injury issues seem to have caught up with them and it was no more apparent than on the offensive side of the ball. With running backs David O’Brien, Kyle Uclaray and Austin Baze all sidelined for the rest of the season, Center keyed on running back Dave Mastrella, holding the Bruins active leading rusher to just 29 yards on the ground. On the defensive side of the ball, the Bruins were without one of their best playmakers in Gunnar Simpson, who was sidelined for the game due to injury as well.
Next up for the Bruins is a road match at Lincoln to close the regular season. Lincoln (5-4, 2-2 PVL) is coming off a 49-7 loss to Placer, but still boast the league’s best offense, averaging 45.8 points per game.
At the peak of the PVL
The Placer Hillmen (9-0, 4-0 PVL) clinched their second straight outright PVL title with their win over Lincoln Friday. The Hillmen have not lost a league game since 2013, and are 18-1 in league play in the last four years.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email email@example.com.
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