BEAR RIVER HIGH – By Gene Wilcox – October 13, 2020
In the final region game of the 2020 season, the Bear River High School football team played the undefeated and defending state champs, the Sky View High School Bobcats, reasonably well. The Bears ended up losing 35-20 on Friday, Oct. 9, but showed flashes and were competitive the whole way.
The Bears’ game against Timpview High School this week has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns in both Provo and on the Timpview High football team. The game would have been played without fans; had it not been cancelled.
The Sky View game started well for Bear River but penalties and mistakes cost the defense. The Bears had stopped the opening Bobcat drive forcing the cats to settle for a field goal on fourth down. The Bears jumped offsides, moving the ball up 5-yards, and allowing Sky View to go for it. On the next play the Bobcat quarterback took the ball on a designed run and found the end zone. The P.A.T. was true, and the Bobcat offense seemed to be as good as advertised.
Not to be outdone, the Bear River offense mounted a drive. Behind the running of Kace “Bucket” Jones and quarterback Josh Payne’s accurate throws. The Bears scored on a perfectly thrown fade from Payne to senior halfback Chance Udy, which covered 30-yards. The PA.T. was wide.
Both teams had drives stall in the second quarter. Sky View took advantage of a low line drive punt when D-1 signee Isaac Larsen took the punt on the run and returned it 58-yards for a touchdown. The P.A.T. was true again and the Cats took a 14-6 lead. The Bobcat offense proved to be effective when halfback Walter Collins took a handoff and rumbled 38-yards for another Sky View score. The P.A.T. was true, and Sky View looked to be rolling with a 21-6 lead.
The Bears showed their mettle and Jones showed his game off by finishing off a nice drive with a seven-yard touchdown run. In the series, Jones was able to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark, putting an exclamation point on the year. The Bears went for the two-point conversion and were stopped on the try. The half ended with Sky View leading 21-12 in a very competitive game.
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In the second half, Sky View opened it up and was able to use the pass, run and penalty to move the ball against the Bear defense. The Bobcats put up two touchdowns on the Bears aided by some questionable calls from the officiating staff.
With Sky View leading 35-12, the Bears were still fighting. Payne was again proficient in leading the Bears on a long drive culminated by Jones’s two-yard touchdown run. The Bears went for the two-point conversion and Payne again found Chance Udy, who hauled in the pass with his fingertips. The touchdown ended up being the last points either team would score.
The game proved that the Bears are capable of playing with the best teams in the state. Execution and penalties were the difference between the two teams, and the Bears will need to improve on both if they plan on making a deep run in the playoffs.
The Bears can celebrate the milestone that Jones had in reaching the 1000-yard rushing mark. Jones was quick to point out the strength of his offensive line and the holes they opened up for him during the season. Jones also showed off his skill set by leading the team in tackles from his linebacker position.
With the Bears not playing Timpview this week they will set their sights on the 4A state playoffs. The Bears will most likely have a home playoff game on Oct. 23 or 24, based on their R.P.I. ranking. Their likely opponent will be Uintah High School, who are coming off a poor season.
The games are yet to be determined but pairings should be set on Wednesday, Oct. 14, by the Utah High School Activities Association.