PREP FOOTBALL: Bruins tame Mustangs, stay unbeaten
Special to The Union
BRUINS 31 MUSTANGS 10
BR: Calder Kunde 35-yard pass from Luke Baggett (Alex Bohn kick) 8:34
BR: Travis Carpenter 10-yard run (Bohn kick) 6:08
BR: Bohn 20-yard FG 2:14
BR: Kunde 45-yard interception return (Bohn kick) 7:13
BR: Baggett 8-yard run (Bohn kick) 11:19
P: Owen Bake 31-yard pass from Derek Sandusky (Erick Franco kick) 9:52
P: Franco 33-yard FG :00
A big win and a happy homecoming all-around for the Bear River Bruins, who continued to dominate defensively as they sent defending Nevada 2A state champion Pershing County back to the desert after a lopsided, 31-10, affair.
Returning from a one-game suspension, Bruins senior quarterback Luke Baggett was quick to make an impact, as he eluded pressure, rolled out of the pocket and hooked up with junior receiver Calder Kunde, who made a diving grab for a 35-yard score on the team’s first offensive play. The short field was set up by a Bear River blocked punt.
“It’s great to be 3-0,” said Baggett, who finished his night 5-of-12 passing for 121 yards with a touchdown through the air and another on the ground. “That’s all it is, wins, wins, wins, so that’s all that matters at this point.”
Bear River would go on to build a 31-0 advantage before the Mustangs finally reached the end zone late in the fourth quarter.
“Our first unit has been very, very stingy,” said Bear River co-head coach Terry Logue of his team’s sensational defense. “And, once again making some big plays. Another defensive score. Blocked another punt. We do a lot of little things you need to do to win games. I really respect (Pershing). They have a lot of class. A smaller school to come over here, (they) weren’t afraid to play us, battled us in the first half for sure.”
After falling behind 7-0, Pershing’s next drive ended in a turnover on downs at the Bear River 31 yard line and the Bruins capitalized again, marching 69 yards in 13 plays with Travis Carpenter popping pads and mowing down defenders from 10 yards out to score, putting his team up 14-0.
After forcing a three and out, Bruins senior Stephen Taylor broke loose and almost went the distance, zipping 45 yards up the sideline, tight-roping down to the 10-yard line before being knocked out of bounds. Sophomore kicker Alex Bohn added a 20-yard field goal for Bear River with 2:14 left in the half and the Bruins took a 17-0 advantage into the locker room.
Kunde kept things rolling for Bear River in the second half with a 45-yard pick-six on a Pershing pass attempt on third-and-long.
“I kind of bit up on option real quick and I realized I shouldn’t have done that,” said Kunde, who finished the night with three catches for 79 yards with a score and tallied four tackles on defense to go with the interception return touchdown. “Went back, QB threw a bad ball and I was there to pick it off.”
Ahead 24-0, the Bruins still weren’t finished.
After the Mustangs next drive stalled at the Bruins 47, and Bear River took over on downs. Five plays later it was Baggett again, this time checking receivers down field then tucking the ball and swerving around defenders as he dashed 8 yards to the corner of the end zone, slipping in just inside the pylon.
“Called a quick five yard out,” explained Baggett. “Tried to get around the edge and saw green grass so I just ran it in.”
Taylor led the charge through the trenches for the Bruins, totaling 53 yards on six carries. He was followed by Josh Zimmer with six attempts for 29 yards and Clayton Anderson, who contributed 25 yards on five carries. The team kept the chains moving, averaging better than a five yard clip as it amassed 128 rushing yards on 23 attempts.
“I’m really feeling us coming together here, just getting better and better,” said Bruins co-head coach Scott Savoie. “(Luke) had a great night, didn’t make any bad throws. He took off a couple times, picked up some yardage there. For a guy that hasn’t played a lot of quarterback, really any since his freshman year, I think he’s got a lot of poise out there, I really do. And his leadership skills really help us.”
Pershing added the final 10 points of the night, a 31-yard touchdown reception with 9:52 remaining and a 33-yard field goal as time expired.
“They got one late,” added Savoie. “I felt our defense played lights out in the first half. We really hurt ourselves with penalties. These are things we work on. We got to get better there, in the penalty department.”
Defensively the Bruins were stout, wrapping up 14 tackles which went for no gain or a loss. Tre Maronic led the team with eight total tackles, seven of which were solo. He was followed by Carpenter with eight, six solo, and Baggett with seven, five solo. Lukas Brodie added five solo tackles, followed by Sam Davis with four solo, including a sack.
Pershing quarterback Derek Sandusky finished 4-of-12 passing for 44 yards with a touchdown and an interception. On the ground, Pershing piled up 153 yards on 49 carries, averaging just over 3.1 yards per carry. The bulk went to junior Jayce Layva, who finished with 19 rushes for 63 yards.
The Mustangs also didn’t catch many breaks in the battle for field position when it came to special teams as Bohn booted four kickoffs for touchbacks, and thanks to the offense, only had to punt once the entire game.
Bear River (3-0) will look to stay perfect as it begins a slate of four consecutive road games next week at Marysville.
JV: PERSHING 14, BEAR RIVER 13
The Bruins junior varsity squad put forth a valiant comeback effort, but came up one point short.
After a defensive fumble recovery and some flea-flicker trickery, both of which went for Mustang first half touchdowns, the Bruins found themselves trailing 14-0 at the half.
Zachary Fink got the Bruins on the board with a 9-yard run to cap off the team’s opening drive in the third quarter. Later, quarterback Colton Jenkins hooked up with receiver Tyler Knox for a 25-yard score, but the PAT was missed, which ended up being the difference.
Bear River had one last opportunity, but ran out of time with the ball down to the Pershing 25 yard line.
Brian Shepard is a freelance sports writer who contributes to The Union regularly.
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