SPORTS - "Bear River Football Finishes Regular Season with a Big Win"


Talon Marble, October 12, 2022 - Photo by John Fronk

Bear River High, October 12, 2022 - Photo by Annalee Limb

Bear River High, October 12, 2022 - Photo by Annalee Limb

BEAR RIVER HIGH - By Tate Atkin, Headliner Sports Editor, October 18, 2022


Before the final home game of the season for the Bear River High football team, the Bear River little league players joined the varsity players, running onto the field together. They all met at midfield for the final hype before kickoff. It was just what the Bears seem to need too.


Bear River hosted Salem Hills High on Wednesday, October 12, a game that was played in the middle of the week due to Utah's fall break schedule. It was the final game of the regular season and would go a long way in determining who each team's playoff opponents would be.


The Bears kicked off to the Skyhawks to start the game. Bear River's defense set the tone early with two sacks by junior defensive lineman Aiden Wilson on the opening drive. The Skyhawks were pushed back and forced to punt.

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Aiden Wilson, October 12, 2022 - Photo by John Fronk

Bear River took over at the Salem Hill 30-yard line and it only took two plays for the Bears to find the end zone. Junior quarterback Owen Olsen found senior receiver Ryker Jeppsen in the end zone for the game's first points. It was also the first passing touchdown of the season for Olsen. With the successful extra point, the Bears led, 7-0.


Salem Hills returned the kickoff to the 45-yard line, setting them up with good field position. The Skyhawks had success throwing on the drive and quickly moved up the field. They were able to answer the Bear River touchdown with one of their own. The score was tied, 7-7.


Salem Hills attempted an onside kick but was recovered by Bear River. The Bears were unable to get a first down and were forced to punt. Bear River's defense again made big plays as they stopped them on the first play and then forced a fumble on the second play of the drive.


Bear River had the ball on the Skyhawk 25-yard line. A personal foul on the defense and a good run by senior Jace Roberts set the Bears up at the 3-yard line. Again, Olsen found Jeppsen in the end zone for their second touchdown. The extra point was good, and the Bears extended their lead the 14-7.


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Owen Olsen, October 12, 2022 - Photo by John Fronk

Bear River forced a punt. It was a rollout punt that took some weird bounces and rolled towards the Bear River return man, who struggled to control it and fumbled the ball. It was recovered by Salem Hills on the Bear's side of the field.


The Bear's defense again made outstanding plays. Wilson again sacked the quarterback, his third of the game. On the next play, junior Talon Marble was able to intercept a pass, which was impressive given the fact he was wearing a cast on his one hand. That was the end of a thrilling first quarter.


Bear River kept the momentum going into the second quarter. Sophomore Tydon Jones had a good run and then Jeppsen was able to break free and almost score, getting tripped at the 10-yard line. Penalties moved the Bears back the 20 yards. After a time out by the Bears, Olsen connected with senior Weston Ballard for a 20-yard touchdown pass that pushed the Bear's lead, 21-7.


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Weston Ballard, October 12, 2022 - Photo by John Fronk

Talon Marble, October 12, 2022 - Photo by John Fronk

Salem Hills returned the kickoff to the Bear River 30-yard line. The Skyhawks were able to take advantage of the great return ran the ball into the end zone for their second touchdown, cutting the Bear River lead, 21-14.


On the final drive of the half, Salem Hills moved the ball getting a couple of first downs. With time running out in the half, the Skyhawks were in the red zone and trying to tie the game before halftime. On 3rd and goal with seconds left, the Salem Hills quarterback scrambled and ran for a touchdown with just eight seconds left in the half. The teams went to their locker rooms with a tied game, 21-21.


This time it was Salem Hills who used their momentum from the previous quarter to fuel them. On the second play of the second half, Olsen was picked off by the Skyhawks, giving them the ball at the Bear River 37-yard line. After a first down, Bear River's defense made big stops and forced a field goal. The kick was good and the Skyhawks took their first lead of the game, 24-21.


After being backed up from penalties, the Bears offense stepped up, led by Olsen who found junior Tyson Braegger for a big gain, getting the ball back to the original line of scrimmage. The next play was a big run from Olsen who made multiple defenders miss before he picked up the first down. The Bears were later faced with a 4th and 12. Instead of trying a long field goal, the Bears went for it and Olsen found Jeppsen on a long pass down to the two-yard line. After penalties again moved them back, Olsen threw his fourth touchdown of the game and his third to Jeppsen. Bear River regained the lead, 28-24.


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Tyson Braeggar, October 12, 2022 - Photo by John Fronk

Salem Hills struggled on their next drive and the Bear River defense forced a punt. It was a terrible punt that gave Bear River the ball at the Skyhawks 40-yard line. On the second play, Olsen handed the ball off to Roberts on an end around and he ran through the Salem Hills defense, breaking multiple tackles on his way to the end zone. After the missed extra point, Bear River led 34-24.


Salem Hills offense was on the attack. Bear River's defense kept forcing 4th downs, but the Skyhawks were able to convert on each of them. Senior Fierce Miller recorded a sack, the fourth for the Bear River defense. On 4th and 12, the Skyhawks completed a pass for the first down and got the ball down to the two-yard line. A couple of run plays later the score was cut to 34-31 in favor of the Bears as the Skyhawks scored another touchdown.


The Salem Hills onside kick attempt was recovered by Bear River. With the lead and just a couple of minutes left on the game, the Bears just needed first downs to run out the clock and get the win. Jeppsen caught a pass and added a tough run to pick up the first down. Needing one more first down to seal the deal, Olsen scrambled and stretched forward, picking up the first down, ending the game. Bear River defeated the Skyhawks, 34-31, giving them a much-needed win heading into the state playoffs.


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Ryker Jeppsen, October 12, 2022 - Photo by John Fronk

"I thought our kids fought and won the 4th quarter which was one of our goals for the week. I still wouldn't say it was a complete game. We have things to fix for sure, but I was proud with how they battled and I'm excited for next week," said Trampis Waite, Bear River High's head football coach.


Rewatch the game courtesy of Bear River Live on the links below.

Football | brlive (brlivestream.com)

https://youtu.be/ROcAWKUIS2I


Next up for the Bear River High football team is the first round of the 4A state playoffs. The win bumped the Bears into 11th place in 4A and ahead of fellow Region 11's Green Canyons High. The Bears will travel to Mountain Crest High to face the Mustangs on Friday, October 21. Game time is set for 7 p.m.


Watch all the excitement as the Bears face the Mustangs live-streaming courtesy of Bear River Live on the links below.

LIVE | brlive (brlivestream.com)

https://youtu.be/hTXYDd7QjzY


Photos by John Fronk, Jared Fronk and Annalee Limb/Bear River High yearbook

Bear River High, October 12, 2022 - Photo by Annalee Limb

Bear River High, October 12, 2022 - Photo by Jared Fronk

Kyle Detwiler, October 12, 2022 - Photo by John Fronk

Jace Roberts, October 12, 2022 - Photo by John Fronk

Kaden Zaugg, October 12, 2022 - Photo by John Fronk

Nixon Weston, October 12, 2022 - Photo by John Fronk

Tydon Jones, October 12, 2022 - Photo by John Fronk

Braeggar Richards, October 12, 2022 - Photo by John Fronk