BEAR RIVER HIGH - By Tate Atkin, Headliner Sports Editor, August 15, 2022
The Bears kicked off the 2022 football season on Friday, August 12, as they hosted the Morgan High School Trojans at Bear Field. The Trojans were last year's state runner-up in 3A and came into the game as a favorite to win the 3A state championship in 2022.
It was not the start to the season that first year head coach Trampis Waite or the Bears were hoping for. Bear River had a hard time stopping Morgan defensively as the Trojans had a lot of success both running the ball and in the passing game. The Bear's offense matched the struggles on defense as they were not successful moving the ball and had drives stall due to penalties.
Morgan received the opening kick and quickly marched down the field before finding the end zone, scoring the first touchdown of the new season. With the Bears down 7-0, the new look offense took the field for the first time ready to answer with a score of their own. It was a quick three and out for the Bears however and they were forced to punt.
Story continues below...
Bear River found their footing on defense and came up with some big plays, including a sack from Junior linebacker Tyson Braegger. The Bears forced a punt and looked to have settled into the new season. Hopeful to use the momentum to get their offense going proved futile as the Bears once again were forced to punt after a holding call killed their drive.
Coach Waite on the performance of Tyson Braegger, "He had a huge game for us. He was a true leader out there."
After a rough start, the Bears trailed the Trojans 7-0 after the first quarter. The second quarter started with the Trojans marching deep into Bear territory. The Bear's defense held tough and came up with huge stops, including a fourth down tackle on the three-yard line, that ended Morgan's chances of scoring.
The Bears took over on offense in the shadows of their own end zone. A deep pass from senior quarterback Ryker Jeppsen to junior wide receiver Talon Marble was the first big play of the game for the Bear's offense and quickly put the Bears on the attack. The drive ended shortly after with an intentional grounding penalty on fourth down.
The rest of the quarter was dominated by Morgan. After a long drive with big plays, the Trojans run it in for another score. The Bear's continued to struggle on offense and once again ended the drive with a punt. The Trojans had great field position and once again found the end zone with their running back going up the middle. As the first half was coming to a close, the Bears offense was backed up after a sack.
With under a minute until halftime, the Bears looked to punt the ball away and regroup for the second half. The punt was blocked and the ball went into the end zone. The Bears were fortunate to recover and only give the Trojans two points with the safety rather than another touchdown. The Bears went into the locker room down 23-0.
Story continues below...
The second half started with the Bears receiving the kick and their offense taking the field. The third quarter was much of the same as the Bears struggled to move the chains on offense and continued to give Junior punter Kyver Jensen's leg a workout as he continued to do a good job punting. The defense gave up more big plays and continued to struggle. Morgan scored two more touchdowns before the third quarter ended with the Bears trailing 37-0.
The fourth quarter was much more successful for Bear River as the offense started to put together drives and make big plays. The offensive line played well, giving Jeppsen time to find his receivers. They also helped open holes for sophomore running back Tydon Jones. The Bears scored their first points of the season as Jeppsen found Marble for a spectacular throw and catch early in the fourth quarter.
"Ty Jones played well for his first varsity game ever. Talon Marble had a great game on both sides of the ball," Waite said.
Story continues below...
Defensively, the Bears were finding their groove as well as they held the Trojans scoreless in the quarter. On the final drive of the game for the Bears, after great runs by Jones, Jeppsen found junior wide receiver Owen Olsen over the middle for the second Bears touchdown. That would be the final points scored as the game ended with the Trojans running out the clock. The final score was a disappointing loss for the Bears as they fell 37-14.
"My biggest takeaway is there are simple fixes across the board. If we trust our reads on both sides of the ball, it's a much closer game. I hope we can get those simple things corrected and put ourselves in a position to win this week," said Waite.
Rewatch the game courtesy of Bear River Live, on the link below.
The Bears hope to put this game behind them as they turn their focus to their next opponent, when they will host the Clearfield High Falcons on Friday, August 19, at 7 p.m.
Catch that game live via Bear River Live on the link below.
Photos by John Fronk