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Opportunistic Bruins Hold Off Falcons, 24-14

Second Quarter TDs Off Turnovers Are Difference
By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Services
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COLFAX – Bear River’s Dillon Smith and Colfax’s Michael Wilson spent Friday night filling the air at Marson Stadium with a combined total of 77 passes as the Bruins and Falcons squared off in a key Pioneer Valley League opening football game. But in the end, despite the aerial antics by both teams, it was a pair of heads-up plays by an opportunistic Bear River defense within a 55-second span of the second quarter that proved to be the difference in the Bruins’ hard-fought, 24-14, win over the Falcons. Now 6-0 on the season, the Bruins, who had been shut out by Colfax the last two seasons, scored on their first offensive play of the game and then used its two big defensive plays to build a 21-14 halftime advantage. After that, the Bruins intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble while pitching a shutout in the second half to defeat the Falcons for the first time since 2008. “Our game plan was to throw the ball tonight," said Smith. “But I have to hand it to our defense, they really did a good job when we needed it. It was a great win for us.” For Colfax, coach Tony Martello could only muse what might have been after his young team - no seniors on offense - committed six turnovers. “Young teams will do that,” said the Colfax coach whose Falcons slipped to 3-3 on the year. “Still, we were in the game with six minutes left but tip your hat to Bear River, they played a very good game.” The contest started off like it was going to be a high-scoring affair as Colfax scored on the second play of the game when sophomore running back Tim Rawlins took a trap play right up the gut and darted 63 yards for a quick 7-0 lead. But the crowd had hardly settled back into their seats following the ensuing kickoff when Smith and Tevyn Kimble hooked up on Bear River’s first play of the night on an 80-yard scoring play to get the Bruins on the board at 7-7. Strangely, after the two quick scores, the game then quickly turned into a battle of field position as the defenses started to settle in. Following a Bruins punt in the second quarter that pinned the Falcons back at their own three-yard line, Wilson attempted a screen pass that was intercepted by Austin Dowling who took the pass back five yards for the easy score. Following the Bruins score, Colfax completed a pass on the first play of its next series and was facing a 2nd and one from its own 41 yard line. However, disaster struck in the form of a bad shotgun snap that sailed over Wilson’s head. Wilson retreated and pounced on the ball back at his own 22-yard line but the ball squirted free where Bear River’s Cody Heard picked up the miscue and returned it for six more points and a lightning quick 21-7 Bruins lead. With 10:27 still to play in the opening half, Colfax put together its best drive of the game when they covered 73 yards in eight plays before Wilson found Chas Reisinger on a 15-yard scoring pass that closed the gap to 21-14. Chris Harshman had three receptions from Wilson on the drive for 38 yards. The Falcons defense, which limited Bear River’s usually potent running attack to just 55 net yards on 34 attempts, then forced two straight changes of possession but the Falcons fumbled one of the opportunities away with 2:32 to play in the half, Bear River's J’Sean Harwood recovering. Smith, who hit on 16 of 33 passes for 231 yards, then keyed a third quarter drive as he completed three passes that picked up a pair of first downs before junior kicker Blake Nielsen converted a 36-yard field goal with 3:49 to play in the third quarter to up the lead to 24-14. Colfax missed a golden opportunity to get back into the game when Bailey Bean recovered a Bruins fumble at the Bear River five-yard line with just over 10 minutes left to play. However, after the turnover, the Falcons went backwards with two penalties, a sack of Wilson and two incomplete passes. “That was tough not scoring down there,” said Martello. “If we punch it in, it’s a new ball game.” Bear River’s Michael Raigoza then took advantage of Colfax being forced to throw in the game’s final five minutes as he came up with two interceptions to seal the contest. “It was a big win for us,” said Smith. “We can celebrate for a little while but have another tough game this week with Placer,” Jack Baldoni, Chaz Meade, Cory Wilhelm and Austin Mulderrig had strong defensive games for Colfax while BearRiver was led by Zach Winter, Travis McKnight and Brad Botsford. Bear River 24 Colfax 14 B. River 7 14 3 0- 24 Colfax 7 7 0 0- 14 Col – Rawlins 63 run (Wilson kick) BR – Kimble 80 pass from Smith (Neilsen kick) BR - Dowling 8 pass interception return (Neilsen kick) BR - Heard 22 fumble return (Neilsen kick) Col – Resinger 15 pass from Wilson (Wilson kick) BR – Neilsen 36 FG Rushing Colfax – Rawlins 10x81; Kane 3-14; Wilson 4x(-17). Bear River – Smith 4x16; Heard 11x13; Raigoza 5x9; Botsford 4x8; Tipton 3x6; Reiss 2x3; Johnson 1x1. Passing Colfax – Wilson 40-23-4, 212; Bear River – Smith, 33-16-0, 231. Receiving Colfax – Harshman, 9x91; Bryant, 8x77; Reisinger 2x20; Rawlins 2x(-6); Kane 1x21; Joiner 1x9. Bear River – Kimble 8x148; Raigoza 3x48; Cramer 2x15; Heard 1x12; Edie 1x11.