PREP FOOTBALL: Bear River overpowered by Lincoln
Special to The Union
FIGHTING ZEBRAS 49, BRUINS 35
L: Elijah Cunningham 1-yard run (8:22) Julian Diaz kick
L: Caleb Kettlehut 24-yard pass from Elijah Garcia 24 (4:02) Diaz kick
BR: Toran Maronic 37-yard pass from Jason Voter (1:39) Voter kick
L: Cunningham 12-yard pass from Garcia (9:19) Diaz kick
BR: Dave Mastrella 4-yard run (1:30) PAT blocked
L: PJ Manley 13-yard pass from Garcia (:09) Diaz kick
BR: Dave Mastrella 95-yard kick return (11:45) 2-pt try no good
L: Cunningham 14 yard pass from Garcia (9:54) Diaz kick
L: Ryan Graham 9-yard run (6:09) Diaz kick
BR: Mastrella 9-yard run (1:27) 2pt conversion good
L: Graham 13-yard run (10:31) Diaz kick
BR: Connor Hollister 16-yard pass from Voter (3:08) 2pt conversion good
Lincoln’s explosive offense poured on the points Friday night as it eclipsed 500 total yards, passing for 334 and rushing for 202 in a 49-35 victory over the visiting Bear River Bruins.
Call it a slump or a downward spiral, but no matter how you spin it, a third consecutive loss heading into the postseason isn’t what Bear River had in mind.
“(Lincoln) was on,” said Bear River co-head coach Scott Savoie. “They were on offensively that’s for sure. We knew they were a very prolific offensive team. They proved that tonight. It’s not very often you score 35 and lose, just a tough night, three tough night’s in a row.”
The Fighting Zebras scored on their opening drive and never looked back. Senior quarterback Elijah Garcia had the hot hand, passing 22-for-38 for 334 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Caleb Kettlehut, who had great success on quick slant routes much of the night, led all receivers with six catches for 147 yards and a touchdown.
The Bruins offense was a mixed bag of success and failure, but ultimately just couldn’t keep pace. Senior quarterback Jason Voter got the Bruins on the board with a 37-yard pass to Toran Maronic late in the first to cut the Zebra lead to 14-7.
However, Lincoln would answer right back and added to its lead, holding at least a two-score cushion throughout the remainder of the game, leading 28-13 at the half.
“I give credit where credit is due,” said Bruins’ co-head coach Terry Logue. “They’re offense executed unbelievably. They made some great throws, some great catches. We made critical penalties. All in all we kept battling back, got within two touchdowns. If we got the onside kick who knows what could have happened. These guys spread us out. (Garcia) gets rid of the ball so quickly we could never pressure on him.”
Junior running back Ryan Graham broke loose on a few occasions for the Zebras, rushing for 140 yards on 25 carries with a pair of touchdowns. Senior running back Elijah Cunningham had 18 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown, and also hauled in eight grabs for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
“It’s hard,” said Lincoln head coach Chris Bean. “I love those kids at Bear River to death. Anytime you beat a team that’s coached by Terry Logue and Scott Savoie it’s a good win. They’ve gone through a bunch. They have so many kids banged up right now and they’re just battling, but you wouldn’t know it. I would be lying to say this didn’t mean a whole heck of a lot because it gets us in the playoffs.”
For the Bruins, senior Dave Mastrella made the highlight reel, giving the Bruins new life to open the second half with a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to pull his team within nine, 28-19. Bear River wasn’t able to convert the two-point try.
Any comeback hopes were quickly dashed soon after though. Five plays later Lincoln scored again, this time on a 14-yard screen pass on third-and-nine.
Mastrella ended his night with 11 carries for 54 yards and two touchdowns. Rounding out the ground attack was senior Baeu Baggett with 10 touches for 33 yards and Maronic, who added 25 yards on six carries.
Voter later found Connor Hollister on a 16-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter. Voter concluded the evening passing 9-for-21 for 159 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Defensively the Bruins were led by Hollister with 14 tackles followed by Baggett with 13 and Mastrella with 10 and an interception. Gunnar Simpson wrapped up a sack for a loss of six yards.
Bear River (7-3, 2-3 PVL) now awaits the release of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoff brackets Saturday afternoon to find out where and whom it will be playing under the lights next week.
JV: Lincoln 19, Bear River 12
The Fighting Zebras took care of the Bruins to finish the season 6-4 overall and 3-2 in PVL play. Lincoln never trailed and buckled down on defense to halt a late Bruins’ drive at the Zebra 33-yard line with just two minutes to play. Bear River ends its season 3-7, 1-4 PVL.
Brian Shepard is a freelance sports writer who contributes to The Union regularly.
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