Falcons fend off Bruins in OT

After potential game-winning kick is blocked, Leal boots decisive extra point in PVL opener
By: Ray Hacke, Journal Sports Writer
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LAKE OF THE PINES — Moments after Mackey Leal had one potential game-winning kick blocked, his Colfax High teammates returned the favor. And because he was able to forget the blocked kick so quickly, the senior made one he’ll long remember. Leal’s extra point in overtime Monday night lifted Colfax to a thrilling 31-30 win over host Bear River in the Pioneer Valley League football opener for both teams. That one kick erased three years of bad memories for Leal. “I’d never beaten Bear River in all four years — in freshman, JV or as a junior (on varsity),” he said. Leal had a chance to win the game for Colfax in regulation when he lined up for a 38-yard field-goal attempt with 18 seconds remaining. However, senior rover Cody Van Fossen blocked the kick for Bear River, and regulation ended with the score tied at 24. In California, when a football game goes into overtime, each team gets four chances to score from the 10-yard line. Bear River got the ball first and scored on its third try when sophomore quarterback James Harris completed a 5-yard play-action pass to senior tight end Will Gray. Colfax linebackers Kyle Pierce and Nick Linthicum blocked Bear River kicker Michael Lohrke’s ensuing extra-point attempt. On the Falcons’ ensuing possession, junior running back Josh Moreno scored on a 10-yard sweep, setting the stage for Leal’s winning kick. “When Nick and I blocked that kick, it was the greatest feeling of our lives,” Pierce said. The kick Van Fossen blocked in regulation did nothing to rattle Leal’s confidence. “I was ready make another one,” Leal said. “We’d moved on,” Pierce said. “We realized what we had to do next.” Colfax (3-1, 1-0 PVL) trailed 24-14 entering the fourth quarter, but tied the game after Mackey converted a 42-yard field goal and senior running back Pat Rawlins scored his second touchdown of the game on a 15-yard run with 8:08 remaining. Rawlins and Moreno each rushed for more than 100 yards for the Falcons. Rawlins had 155 yards on 26 carries, while Moreno carried five times for 111 yards, including a 74-yard TD run in the first quarter. “We didn’t play well enough on defense,” Bear River co-coach Terry Logue said. “We didn’t tackle well, and they ran well. We let guys get outside too frequently.” Harris led Bear River (2-2, 0-1 PVL) offensively, completing 11 of 19 passes for 96 yards and two TDs. The 21-yard touchdown pass he completed to junior receiver Joey Reyna in the third quarter was the first of Harris’ varsity career. Johnny Jewett rushed 19 times for 127 yards and a TD for the Bruins. Fellow senior running back Cole White had 77 yards on 18 carries and one TD. Lohrke’s 20-yard field goal put the Bruins ahead 17-14 at halftime. The game, originally scheduled for last Friday, was moved to Monday night because roughly half of Bear River’s roster came down with the flu last week. “Even though we lost and it hurts like hell right now, it was a classy move by Colfax to postpone the game,” Logue said. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to field a team.” Junior varsity Running back Jimmy Bamburg rushed for 118 yards on 16 carries and scored two touchdowns to lead Bear River to a 27-8 win over visiting Colfax. Bruins quarterback Dallen Huetter rushed for one TD and threw for another, a 14-yarder to Bamburg. Running back Josh Toft also scored for Bear River (4-0, 1-0 PVL). On defense, cornerback Trevor McGee and tackle Dillon Huffman led Bear River with six tackles apiece. Bamburg, who played linebacker, and cornerback Devaughn Lofton each had five tackles. Wide receiver Shawn Rawlins scored Colfax’s lone TD. Lineman Dustin Downey stood out for the Falcons (3-1, 0-1 PVL) defensively.