Woodcreek too much for Bruins
ROSEVILLE – Though Bear River was the team that came into the game with unscathed season record, the Bruin coaching staff knew who was the underdog when they took the field Friday night at Woodcreek High School.
Terry Logue and Scott Savoie told their Bruins all week long that they would have to put together their best performance of the young season to topple the host Timberwolves.
That didn’t happen.
Instead, Woodcreek proved the Bruin coaches correct, taking early control of the game and sending Bear River to its first defeat of the season with a 35-7 thumping.
“They’ve got a very, very good football team, which we knew coming in,” Logue said. “To beat that team, we had to have a great game and we didn’t execute well enough to get it done.”
Things got off on the wrong foot right away for the Bruins, as Woodcreek’s J.J. Nourth took the opening kickoff, split two defenders and sped down the right sideline for a 52-yard return that set the T’wolves up for business at the Bruin 38.
Five plays later, Blake Cervantes broke away for a 25-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 lead with 9:56 on the first-quarter clock.
“To me, the opening kickoff was huge,” said Savoie, Bear River’s co-head coach. “That’s what got things going for them, giving them great field position. That set the tone for them and just got them going right away.”
Woodcreek (3-1) added another score late in the first quarter, on a pair of big plays out of their junior quarterback Shaun Mize. On first-and-10 at the Bruin 49, Mize hit wideout Justin Rogers for a short gain to the left, but Rogers broke one tackle and sprinted to the Bear River 25. On the next play, Mize rolled out to the right and then beat the Bruins on a 25-yard keeper for a 14-0 lead, after Critter Elliott added the second of his five PAT kicks on the night.
Mize threw for 136 yards and two touchdowns, completing 9-of-17 attempts. Rogers was his top target, reeling in four catches for 57 yards, while Dylan Zuverink had two catches for 65 yards.
Bear River (3-1) drove into the T’wolves territory twice in the first half and were turned away both times without a score. On the first trip, Bruin quarterback James Harris kept the ball on a fourth-and-3 at the Woodcreek 39, but took a two-yard loss to turn the ball over on downs on the team’s opening possession.
The second time Bear River threatened, late in the second quarter, ended in similar fashion. Facing fourth-and-six at the Woodcreek 29, Harris rolled to his right and was stopped for a loss after not finding any receivers open downfield.
Woodcreek took over with 1:47 showing on the clock and needed only six plays to put the Bruins into a deep hole at halftime. Cervantes had a 15-yard gain on first down, while Mize hit Rogers for a 14-yard pickup and then ran for another first down with an 11-yard gain to the Bruin 30.
One snap later, Mize lofted a high spiral to the right side of the end zone and Rogers laid out for a diving catch in the end zone for a 21-0 score with 56 seconds left on the clock.
Bear River didn’t break into the scoring column until the fourth quarter, when Woodcreek had the game well in hand. The Bruins marched 80 yards in 11 plays, capped by a 12-yard reverse for a touchdown by junior wideout Justin Butler. Speeding around the right side, Butler was blasted by a pair of Timberwolves at the goal line – knocking his helmet from his head – but he still broke through for a 28-7 score with 9:35 remaining.
“I just saw my linemen block their butts off,” said Butler, who had three carries for 25 yards. “They gave me a perfect opportunity to drive it in.”
Bear River rushed for 204 yards as a team, as junior Josh Toft lead the way with 17 carries for 68 yards. Senior Sam Houston had 52 yards on 11 rushes and junior Dallen Heutter added 37 yards on nine totes.
The Bruin aerial attack never really got off the ground, totaling 55 yards on 12 attempts. Harris completed 6-of-10 attempts for 22 yards with two interceptions, one of which was returned 34 yards for a touchdown by Zuverink. Heutter hit junior wideout Harley Sauers for a 33 yard gain early in the fourth quarter to finish 1-of-2 passing.
“Back to the drawing board,” Savoie said after the loss. “We need to get back in the saddle and get ready to go on the road again next week.”
Bear River returns to action next Friday at River Valley.
The Bruin junior varsity team improved to 4-0 on the season by shutting down a Woodcreek offense that had averaged 36 points through the first three weeks.
Bear River led 20-6 until the Timberwolves added another score with 23 seconds remaining.
“Our defense played unbelievable,” said coach Chris Bean. “I’ve got to give a shout to our defensive coordinator, coach (Kyle) Grant.”
Cody Heard led the team with five solo tackles, including one for a loss, and a quarterback sack. Austin Dowling had four solo stops and three passes defended.
Offensively, Bear River was led by Michael Raigoza, who ran for 78 yards and a touchdown, while Austin Dowling added 55 yards and a score. Dillon Smith also rushed for a touchdowns.
“They’re starting to believe,” Bean said. “That was the motto this week: Believe in yourself, believe in your coaches and believe in your team. Be selfless. It’s not about you making the tackle, it’s just about you doing your job.”
Contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 477-4240.
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