By Chad Robert Snyder
Pilot staff writer
The varsity football Bruins lost Friday night 35-0 in an electric game full of big hits and bigger plays.
While the Bruins were able to sustain a number of drives, it was big plays on special teams and in the run game for the Huskies that sealed their victory.
The first quarter started out with a strong showing by the BHHS defense. By forcing a three-and-out they were able to gain favorable field position. In their subsequent offensive drive however, the Bruins were unable to move the ball and the resulting punt was returned for a touchdown by the Huskies.
In the Bruins forth offensive possession they began gaining positive yardage.
Sophomore Dustin Paradis was a major factor, dishing out punishing blows to the Huskies defense as he bowled his way through linebackers and safeties. The passing game began to function as the arm of sophomore Eli Bruce deposited balls accurately in the waiting arms of his receivers.
The offense seemed to gain swagger as a result, despite the drive ending in the third punt of the night.
The turning point of the game occurred with 2:37 remaining in the second quarter. Down 21-0, the Bruins defense clamped down of the Huskies, forcing them to punt from their own 38 yard line. With forth and a short two to go, the Huskies faked the punt and narrowly gained the first down.
The Bruins stiffened again and finally did force a Fortuna punt. The Bruins got the ball back with 1:21 left on the clock and were moving the ball effectively when time expired.
The additional downs the Huskies got as a result of the fake punt were the difference. During the three plays they were able to burn a minute plus of clock, which most likely cost the Bruin a shot at the end zone just before half-time.
In the second half the Bruins fought hard to get back into the game and took every chance to make big hits. Their downfall was big gains in the running game by Fortuna, who mainly eked out yardage in the second half on the ground, trying to burn as much clock as possible.
The contest had a number of game changing moments, but the majority came in the form of special team. In addition to the punt returned for touchdown, kickoff returns and other "hidden yardage" spelled doom for the Bruins.
Head Coach Jim Keys said he wasn't expecting that kind of performance from his special teams.
"It's probably inexperience; they haven't been like that before tonight," he said.
Experience level was no doubt an issue, as the roster for Friday's game contained 24 underclassmen and only 16 juniors and seniors.
Young and inexperienced players were as much an asset as a liability in the game, however. Sophomore QB Eli Bruce operated the offense extremely well at times and Paradis was a threat in the run game yet again.
Junior Kyle Hover, in only his second year of football, was all over the field, tackling for loses and dashing into the Huskies backfield.
Assistant Coach Dave Freeman said repeated he was pleased with Hover's performance Friday night.
"I'm really impressed, especially considering his limited experience playing organized football," he said.
Next week the Bruins welcome South Umpqua to BHHS at 7 p.m.