HYRUM – By Gene Wilcox – October 6, 2020
Victory never tasted so sweet as the Bear River High School football team traveled to Hyrum on Friday, Oct. 2, and ended a drought on many levels with a 21-0 win over Mountain Crest High School.
The win answers some questions about the ability of the team to compete at high levels. After three close Region 11 losses, the Bears were able to ride out and dominate defensively and get just enough offense to get the victory over the Mustangs. Coincidentally, it was the first victory over Mountain Crest since 1996 and the first region victory of the year for the Bears.
The Bears will now face defending 4A state champs and undefeated, Sky View High School on Friday, Oct. 9. The Bobcats are sporting a long winning streak and have already wrapped up the 2020 region championship. The game will be the last home regular season game of the season. In a scheduling change the Bears will no longer play Clearfield High School on the UEA Wednesday short week. Instead, the Bears will travel to Provo to tangle with perennial 5A power, Timpview High School.
In the Mountain Crest game, both teams struggled to get any points or yardage in an offensively ugly first half. The Bear River line was confused with Mountain Crest’s blitz package and gave up big sacks in critical situations. The Bear River defense was up to the challenge as Landon Cabral garnered two sacks and Justus Dworshak and Braxton Christensen put constant pressure on the Mustang quarterback.
When the first half ended the Bears were locked into a 0-0 battle with a desperate Mountain Crest team.
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The second half started with Mustangs receiving the kickoff. The Bear defense gave up some yards but came up with big stops by Derrick Dean and Kace Jones. Mountain Crest was forced to punt and the punter shanked the punt giving Bears first down inside the 50-yard line. Jones took the first handoff 24-yards. Not to be left out, Chance Udy took the next handoff down to the three-yard line. On the next play, Jones barreled into the end zone and suddenly the Bear offensive line seemed dominant.
On the next series, Mountain Crest drove the length of the field. On third and goal from the five-yard line, sophomore safety Ryker Jeppsen stepped in front of the Mountain Crest pass intercepting it and ending the Mustang drive. With the Bears backed up to their goal line, Josh Payne rolled out and found junior tight-end Wyatt Roberts at the 20-yard line for a first down. Payne then gained 23-yards on a quarterback keeper that almost went to the house.
Jones had a nine-yard run followed by Garrison Marble’s catch and face mask penalty and the Bears were at the Mountain Crest 15-yard line to start the fourth quarter. On second down, Udy took the handoff and rumbled untouched into the end zone. Izzy Varela’s P.A.T. was true and suddenly the Bears were in complete control with a 14-0 lead.
Mountain Crest was forced to go almost exclusively to a passing attack giving the Bear defense time to T-off on the quarterback. Kasen Burn and Dean put big rushes on the Mustang quarterback with each coming up with a sack. The Mustangs were forced to punt, and the Bears took over after a penalty on their own 16 with 5:36 left in the game. The ‘Stangs stacked the box with eight defenders. Payne saw the matchup and dropped back and hit wide-out Gabe Dwaileebe in stride. Dwaileebe put a move on the Mountain Crest defender and sprinted into the end zone for an 82-yard touchdown. The P.A.T. was true and the Bears were up 21-0 with the only thing in question: If B.R. would get a shut out.
The Bear defense proved up to the challenge and were even able to use some junior varsity players who played well. When the final horn sounded the Bears had their first region victory and their first victory over a Mountain Crest team since 1996.