BEAR RIVER HIGH - By Tate Atkin, Headliner Sports Editor, August 29, 2022
After starting the season with two home games, the Bear River High football team played their first away game Friday, August 26, when they traveled to Salt Lake City to play the 5A Highland High School Rams.
Coming off a win in their last game, the Bears entered Friday's matchup versus the Rams with a lot of momentum. That momentum was quickly drained however when just one minute into the game, senior quarterback Ryker Jeppsen threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. With the Rams missing the extra point, the Bears found themselves trailing early on 6-0.
Unfortunately, the rest of the half was not much better for Bear River. Highland scored a passing touchdown midway through the first quarter to extend their lead. They added two more touchdowns in the second quarter, the first a one-yard rushing touchdown and the second a 35-yard passing touchdown with just over a minute left in the half.
Down 27-0 with a minute and a half left until halftime, and with a team struggling on both sides of the ball, it would have been easy for the Bears to hang their heads and accept defeat. Instead, they showed determination as they quickly marched down the field and ended the drive with a touchdown, when Jeppsen found junior receiver Talon Marble for an 11-yard touchdown as the first half ended. The Bear's went into the locker room down 27-7.
Hoping they had regained some momentum, Bear River kicked off to the Rams to start the second half. Highland was backed up to their own 10-yard line, when their quarterback dropped back and found a target for a 90-yard touchdown strike, just 30 seconds into the second half. The Rams added another touchdown on their next drive with a three-yard touchdown run, extending their lead to 40-7.
Just when it looked like Bear River was down and out, Jeppsen and the Bears put on a show and rallied back with three unanswered touchdowns of their own. The first came when Jeppsen again found Marble, this time from 17 yards out. Their next drive ended with a one-yard touchdown run. The third touchdown was an impressive 33-yard touchdown pass from Jeppsen to senior Jace Roberts.
"I think our guys weren't sure of themselves and they weren't sure that they could play with that team. It took us all the way to the second half to realize that they can play with anybody, but they have to trust themselves and play with more emotion," said Bear River High coach Trampis Waite on the Bear's slow start.
The Bear's cut the lead to 40-28 midway through the fourth quarter and looked poised to overcome their early struggles and find a way to complete the comeback with a victory. Highland ended those hopes however with a 35-yard touchdown run on their next drive. The Bear's offense wasn't done scoring though. With just minutes left in the game, Jeppsen threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game and the third one to Marble, this time from three yards out.
Coach Waite on Jeppsen's performance, "Ryker had an up and down game. He had pressure almost all night that he had to deal with and our run game was being shut down. However, Ryker is a great leader and I know he will continue to work on limiting turnovers and as always be ready to go come Friday night."
The second half comeback wasn't enough as the Bears suffered their second defeat of the season, losing to the Rams 46-35, falling to 1-2 overall.
The Bears will now prepare for their upcoming game against cross-county rivals as they will host the Box Elder High Bees on Friday September 2, at 7 p.m.
If you are unable to attend the game in person, you can watch the game on Bear River Live using the link below.