Another tough Friday night for the BR Football team as they lost their third game in a row to another fine football team. Lincoln’s over powering offense started the scoring early and often as they generated nearly 500 total yards on the night. Their passing attack generated 334 yards and they ran for 202 rushing yards in a 49-35 victory over the “Mash Unit” Bruins. If this game was played near the 38th parallel during the Korean War, the many Bruin varsity injured players would have felt right at home being cared for by Capt. Pierce, Capt. Trapper John, Capt. Hunnicut and Major Winchester III.
The Fighting Zebras scored on their first drive and kept their scoring machine on the attack throughout the game. Senior quarterback Elijah Garcia had a passing output of 22-for-38 for 334 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Caleb Kettlehut was the primary target of Garcia’s passes running quick slant routes with six catches for 147 yards and a touchdown. The Bruin secondary had no answer for the Zebras’ passing attack.
The Bruins offense struggled most of the night and just could not keep pace with Lincoln. Senior QB Jason Voter got the Bruins their first score with a 37-yard pass to Toran Maronic late in the first to cut the Zebra lead to 14-7. Lincoln would come right back and increased their lead on their next drive and was leading 28-13 at the half. The second half proved to be about the same as Lincoln’s Junior running back Ryan Graham rushed for 140 yards on 25 carries with two touchdowns. Senior running back Elijah Cunningham had 18 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown while he also had eight great receptions for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
On a positive note for the Bruins, senior Dave Mastrella gave the Bruin faithful some hope to start the second half with a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown (new BR school record by 5 yards) to close the score to 28-19. It did not take Lincoln long to answer Mastrella’s big run, as just five plays later they scored again to silence any hope of a Bruin comeback. Mastrella carried the ball for 54 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Baeu Baggett carried the ball for 33 hard earned yards and Maronic compiled 25 yards for the night.
QB Voter later located Connor Hollister over the middle for a 16-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Voter went 9-for-21 for 159 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. On defense, the Bruins were led by Hollister with 14 tackles, Baggett with 13 and Mastrella with 10 and an interception. Gunnar Simpson continued to increase his season record sack count with a single sack on the evening.
Bear River (7-3, 2-3 PVL) now must travel to play the Ripon Indians (6-4, 4-1 TVL) in the Sac-Joaquin Section Div V playoff bracket. Both teams match up equally on paper as both teams have beaten Escalon and Sutter by very similar scores this season. Friday the 13th of next week will have one of these teams checking in their gear on Monday after the first round game. Let’s hope that Bear River can continue into the next round.