The Bear River football team, after their big victory Friday night over previously undefeated Capital Christian (31-21), will be back at “The Show” this coming Saturday afternoon to defend their Sac-Joaquin Section Div V Title against Sonora High School.
BR is now just one victory away from their second straight section title game which has not been accomplished by any previous BR football team since 1994-1995. The Bruin offense put up 31 points (on a Cougar team that had only given up an average of 9 points per game), however, it was the outstanding play by the BR defense that made the difference in this victory. The Cougars were averaging 48+ points per game this season and their offense was shutdown by outstanding performances by the likes of seniors Gunnar Simpson, Conner Holister and Beau Baggett. Cougar QB Jacob Norville went 6-for-21 for a total of 88 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Simpson, showing his continued outstanding season pass rushing ability, had three sacks on the night and now holds the school record for sacks in a season with 16. Simpson also holds the school record for sacks in a varsity career with 26.
Capital Christian struggled in the fourth quarter as three of their offensive possessions were stopped by the strong BR defense on fourth down turnovers on downs and their fourth possession came on an interception by senior Kyle Uclaray (playing again on his bad knee and giving it his all in support of his team) that sealed any comeback for the Cougars on this playoff night . Truly a remarkable comeback by Kyle in his senior year.
The Bruins’ defense only gave up 177 yards rushing on 30 carries. There was only one big play that the Bruins gave up on the night. Cougars’ freshman D’Marcus Ross had a 51 yard run for a touchdown and he was held to 96 yards on 10 carries for the night. This was his lowest productive running output over his entire Cougar season. The Bruin offense rushed for a total of 235 yards on 45 carries. Sophomore Austin Baze led the running attack with 100 yards rushing on 17 carries and three touchdowns on his first game back after his shoulder injury.
Senior Dave Mastrella had another strong performance for the Bruins (he was awarded Touchdown Productions player of the game). On offense he rushed for 86 yards on 18 carries. Mastrella also caught two touchdown passes from QB Jason Voter and gave the Bruins good drive starting position on key punt returns. Juniors Toran Maronic and Colton Wood stepped up on offense to help with large chunks of yards on key running plays.
The defending Div V Section Champion Bruins (the Number 6 seed with their 9-3 record) go on the road again to a neutral site to face Number 1 seed Sonora High School (11-1) at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Elk Grove High School. The last time these two teams met was in November, 2011. The Sonora Wildcats football team defeated Bear River 42-20 in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section championships.