BEAR RIVER HIGH - By Tate Atkin, Headliner Sports Editor, September 21, 2022
It was a much needed, and enjoyed, win on the football field for the Bear River High football team and their fans. On September 16, Bear River traveled to Logan High to square off against the Grizzlies in a region game. The Grizzlies entered the game with a 3-2 record, including a region win over Sky View High, in their last game. The Bears, with a record of 1-4 overall this season, entered the game coming off a region loss to Green Canyon High the week before.
Unlike previous games for the Bears where they tend to start off slow offensively, Bear River started the game with a statement drive on their first possession that helped set the tone for the rest of the game. The drive started on their own 3o yard line. The first play was a seven-yard run by junior wide receiver Talon Marble on an end around. Sophomore Tydon Jones added a couple of runs to help the Bears move the chains as did Senior Weston Ballard with a nine-yard reception. With the ball on the 37-yard line, Jones got the ball in the backfield and ran around the right side of the line. An impressive stiff arm on the Logan defender helped him find the end zone to finish the long run, giving the Bears the early 7-0 lead.
This offensive start was what the Bears have been missing so far this season. In earlier games this season, the slow starts had the Bears playing from behind most of the time. The opening drive touchdown was the first on the season for Bear River and gave them the start they have been looking for.
Logan moved the ball on the Bear River defense, mostly through the air, with multiple passes of over ten yards. The Grizzlies' drive ended however when they were stopped by the Bears at the 25-yard line to set up 4th and 3. Logan was successful on the field goal attempt from 42 yards and the Bear River lead was cut, 7-3.
The Bear River offense took the field, poised for another stellar drive. Unfortunately, a holding penalty killed the drive for the Bears and they were forced to punt. Jeppsen punted the ball and after a fantastic roll, the ball stopped at the Logan three-yard line. The Grizzlies attempted a pass from their own end zone, and Senior Jace Roberts read the play perfectly and stepped in front of the intended receiver, wrestling the ball away from him as they went to the ground for the Bear River interception at the four-yard line. The Offense was able to take advantage of the outstanding field position when Jeppsen kept the ball and ran it in for the second Bear River touchdown. The extra point pushed the Bear River to a 14-3, lead.
Logan's offense put together a drive of their own that started at the end of the first quarter and ended a couple of plays into the second quarter. A 15-yard run on a reverse helped moved the ball and a couple of nice run plays moved the Grizzlies into the red zone before they ran it in from five yards out. The Bears now led, 14-10.
The Bear River offense didn't miss a beat as they methodically moved the ball on their next drive. Jones had a big run. Marble helped move the chains with a run and then a five-yard catch. Jeppsen ran for a first down of his own. The drive was capped off with a perfectly thrown ball from Jeppsen to junior receiver Owen Olsen down the left sidelines. The pass led Olsen perfectly into the end zone where he pulled down the touchdown over a Logan defender, adding to the Bear's lead. The extra point by junior kicker Kyver Jensen made the score, 21-10, in favor of the Bears.
Logan started their next drive at the 20-yard line after a touch back. The Grizzlie's quarterback found a receiver deep down field for a huge gain, taking the ball all the way down to the Bear River 15-yard line. That was the only offense on the drive, and they were forced to try a field goal on 4th down. The kick was good and the Grizzlies now trailed, 21-13.
Bear River's offense wasn't content with their play so far in the first half. On their next drive they quickly marched down the field with a 40-yard pass from Jeppsen to Olsen who went up high and hauled in the deep pass with two defenders draped all over him. The next play was a pass interference on Logan that moved the Bears even closer to the end zone. Jones added a seven-yard run and Jeppsen ran the ball to the two-yard line before scoring on a zone read play, keeping the ball for another rushing touchdown for Jeppsen, his second of the half. Bear River led Logan, 28-13.
The two teams swapped short drives and a punt. Junior Aiden Wilson ended the Logan drive with a sack, the first of the game for either team. After the Bear River punt, Logan had one more drive to try and cut down the Bear River lead before halftime. They converted on some deep passes and quickly found themselves in scoring position. Another sack from Wilson forced the Grizzlies to try for a field goal. The snap was way over the holder's head and recovered around midfield ending the first half of the game.
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In the same dominant fashion that the Bears started the game, the Grizzlies started the second half with a quick drive of their own, powered by their run game. Big run after big run moved the ball to the 20-yard line before the Logan quarterback found a receiver in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown catch. The Grizzlies quickly cut into the Bear's lead with the score now 28-20.
Bear River had some success on offense before their drive ended and they were forced to punt. Jeppsen again displayed his punting ability as he perfectly kicked the ball to the Logan one yard line. Again, the Grizzlies started a drive from the shadows of their own end zone. This time they were able to get a little breathing room as they gained a first down with a 10-yard pass and catch. A 20-yard run moved the ball close to midfield for the Grizzlies before they were stopped and forced to punt.
Bear River took over at the 27-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Jeppsen handed the ball off to Jones who found a huge hole right up the middle created by the offensive line and found the open field. He outran the Logan defense and scored a touchdown on a 73-yard run, practically untouched. The huge run put the Bears up two touchdowns with the score now, 35-20.
The run deflated the Logan defense, but the Bear River defense sealed the game for the Bears as they were able to shut down the Grizzlies the rest of the quarter. Wilson continued to wreak havoc on the passing game coming up with his 3rd sack of the game, forcing a Logan punt. Bear River was unable to move the ball and was forced to punt it back to Logan. The punt hit a Bear River player in the back and barely made it past the line of scrimmage. Logan took over, starting at the 22-yard line. Another bad snap pushed Logan back to the 40-yard line. Junior Caleb Korth delivered the knockout blow when he intercepted the ball, ending the scoring chance for Logan.
The Bears' running game was able to drain the clock and with first downs, ended any chances of a Logan comeback. On their final possession of the game, the Bear River offense was still hungry. After a couple of big runs set them up in the red zone, the Bears ended the drive with another touchdown. Jeppsen found Olsen over the middle as he out jumped the Grizzly defenders and pulled down a spectacular touchdown reception. The extra point was blocked, but the Bears put the game out of reach, extending the lead, 41-20.
On the Grizzly's final attempt on offense, Wilson came up with his fourth sack of the game, completely dominating the opposing line. There was a fumble on the play recovered by the Bears. The referees later changed the ruling and gave the ball back to Logan.
"Aiden played awesome. He is one of our hardest workers and one of the most Coachable kids you could have. He deserved a game like that," said Trampis Waite, Bear River High's head football coach.
Sophomore Daxston Bingham flew through the Logan offensive line untouched and sacked the quarterback, the fifth sack for the Bear River defense and first on the season for Bingham. The sack ended the game with the Bears coming out victorious, 41-20.
If you missed the game or want to re-watch the all the excitement, courtesy of Bear River Live, click on the links below.
It was a huge Region 11 win for the Bears as they are now 1-1 in region play. It was an all-around team performance as the Bears looked like a dominating force in all aspects of the game. The offense looked unstoppable at times with Jeppsen controlling the offense through the air and on the ground. Jones had a breakout game with two rushing touchdowns and well over 100 yards rushing. The offensive line, led by senior Kaden Zaugg, gave Jeppsen all day to throw and opened huge holes all night for the run game.
"The offense finally played together as a unit and it showed. The line blocked great, Ty hit the holes with confidence and Ryker kept the chains moving," said Waite.
Defensively the Bears were able to shut down the Logan offense. Wilson was a one-man wrecking crew disrupting the passing attack with four sacks. Roberts and Korth both had interceptions that had huge impacts on the outcome. Special teams were a big key to the win as well with Jeppsen's amazing punts, great kick coverage and Jensen going 5-for-6 on his extra point tries (the one miss being a blocked kick). It was an all-around dominant performance for the Bears that could be just what the team needs to propel them through the rest of the regular season and into the playoffs.
"I was impressed with how we prepared for the game. We had our best week of practice and it showed in the game. It was a great team win and I am hoping we bring the same drive this next week," added Waite on the team's preparation.
Next up for the Bear River High football team will be their annual homecoming game on September 23, as they host Bobcats from Sky View High. Game time is set for 7 p.m. and as always, Bear River Live will be there live-streaming all the exciting action on any of the links below.