Prep football: Bruins drop hard-fought bout with Titans
It was a slugfest at J. David Ramsey Stadium Friday night.
The gridiron bout between Bear River High School and Luther Burbank High School was both hard-hitting and run-heavy as the non-league combatants duked it out across four closely contested quarters. When the final bell rang it was the Titans (2-3) from Sacramento emerging with a 13-7 victory over the Bruins (0-3).
“Our biggest accomplishment tonight is we found our identity,” said Bear River co-head coach Mike Profumo. “We really simplified things, challenged the kids and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to be a tough, physical team.’ And, they really stepped up and showed some good progress. I feel we’re moving in the right direction and found our identity. Now, we just grow from here.”
The Bruins fell behind in the first quarter after a 4-yard burst into the end zone by Luther Burbank’s Jahe’mel Worlds. The skilled running back would add an 84-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, making several Bruins miss along the way, to put the Titans up 13-0. Worlds finished the evening with a game-high 135 rushing yards to go with his two scores.
Bear River responded with a big play of their own, connecting on a half-back pass that went 64 yards to the end zone just before halftime, but the play was called back due to a holding penalty.
The Bruins were much stronger in the second half as they held the Titans scoreless, and also notched their first touchdown of the season. It was the half-back pass that once again fooled the Titans defense, as junior running back Anders Torgerson connected with senior receiver Ryder Holcomb from 20 yards out to pull the Bruins to within six points with a little more than 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Torgerson led all Bear River ball carriers with 70 yards on 25 carries. Ryder Kiggins, the Bruins’ senior fullback, added 39 yards on the ground.
“Halftime adjustments, that was the biggest thing,” Bear River co-head coach Tanner Mathias said of the Bruins’ improved play in the second half. “We put a play in at halftime that took a huge chunk of our yards in the second half to the next level. Defensively made a ton of adjustments to the D-line and who is playing where and what coverage we were in. I think that stopped them a little bit and changed their game plan. I think the halftime adjustments were huge for us.”
‘WE HAD A SHOT’
With the game in the balance, the Bruins came up with a big defensive stop late in the fourth quarter, forcing a turnover on downs to get the ball back with about 2 minutes left in the contest.
After several incompletions, the Bruins faced a fourth and long with 1:41 left in the game and, instead of going for it, chose to punt.
The punt was not fielded cleanly by the returner, but a Titans player fell on it, and Luther Burbank was able to put the game away by taking a knee three times.
Mathias explained his reasoning after the game.
“We were pinned kind of deep and went 0-for-4 on pass plays before that,” he said. “So to get them out and give our defense a chance. You know, we had a chance on the fumble right there with the return. It was something we thought we had a shot to get the ball back farther out, so we had to take a shot at it.”
The Bruins will now turn their attention to Pioneer Valley League play.
“Our health is something I hope improves,” said Mathias. “We had a lot of guys in jerseys and not shoulder pads (tonight). Hopefully, we get a couple guys back in the mix.”
Profumo added, “… It’s just fine tuning now and minimizing the mistakes.”
Bear River opens league play on the road Oct. 1 at Marysville (4-1).
The junior varsity Bruins stayed undefeated as they toppled the JV Titans 27-6 to improve to 4-0 overall.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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It was Homecoming at Hooper Stadium Friday night and the festivities were in full effect