Hillmen deny determined Bruins

Sophomore Robinson sparks Placer in PVL opener
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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When Bear River High put the clamps on Placer’s perimeter rushing game Friday night, the Hillmen did their best impression of the Bruins. Placer pounded the ball up the gut with fullback Michael Robinson and the sophomore responded with the biggest game of his brief football career. He finished with 152 yards and three touchdowns as Placer beat Bear River 34-14 in the Pioneer Valley League opener for both teams. The Bruins (4-2) executed their game plan perfectly in the first half. They ran 38 plays to just 16 for the Hillmen (5-1). Senior Sam Houston banged his way to big chunks of yardage and the Bruins’ offensive line was getting the job done. The game turned late in the first half as Bear River drove 60 yards to the Placer 9-yard line. But a holding penalty cost the Bruins a touchdown and a 27-yard field goal attempt came up short as Placer took a 14-6 lead into halftime. The Bear River defense nearly had a stop on Placer’s opening drive of the third quarter. But on fourth down and 1 yard to go, Robinson busted through the line and dashed 52 yards for a touchdown. The Bruins never recovered. “If we could have scored and capitalized on that drive at the end of the half, we definitely could have gotten this win,” Houston said. “Our defense played good tonight, but (Placer) got the big plays.” The Hillmen added a 1-yard TD run from Robinson early in the fourth quarter and a 3-yard TD plunge from Will Slane to seal the victory. It was a gratifying win, especially for Robinson, who keyed Placer’s rushing attack as senior Josh Turney was held to a season-low 70 yards. “At the beginning of the game I came out and I was super-nervous,” Robinson said. “In the first half they kept getting (first downs) and running out the clock. I was thinking, ‘Are they going to just do this the whole time?’ But we got through it, got the lead and we just kept going.” Houston finished with a game-high 173 yards on 27 carries, but the Placer defense came up big in the second half. Bear River quarterback James Harris was sacked by Tyler Graves to end one promising drive. Darren Centi had a sack on the Bruins’ next possession, forcing a punt and leading to Slane’s touchdown run. Placer’s defensive line stiffened against the tough Bear River front. “They were a good offensive line. They really challenged us,” Placer senior Anthony Trull said. “We wanted to get 3-and-outs in the first half, but they just kept running the ball. They only got one score, so when it came down to it, we stepped up and made a stop.” Junior varsity Bear River 28, Placer 13 — The Bruins took advantage of four turnovers to improve to 6-0 on the season. Bear River’s Dylan Smith ran for two touchdowns while Cody Heard and Michael Raigoza added one each. Jake Savoie recovered two fumbles while Austin Dowling had an interception and forced a fumble. Heard had one interception. Placer scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter as Casey Yunk passed to Tyler Lipsmeyer for one and ran one yard for another. Freshmen Placer 46, Bear River 26 — Cameron Scott and Todd Valliere combined for more than 300 yards and six touchdowns as the Hillmen cruised in their PVL opener. Noah Daly had an interception while Kelton McDonald added one touchdown. Logan Strange was a perfect 4-for-4 passing with one touchdown and 112 yards.