By Josh Bronson
Pilot staff writer
A late fourth quarter touchdown doomed the Bruin football team as they lost a close 8-7 battle to the Phoenix Pirates Friday night.
On third-and-ten, with less than five minutes to play and a one touchdown lead, it seemed as if the Bruin defense would be able to preserve the lead and put the ball in the hands of the offense again.
But Pirate quarterback Neil Emerson found Skyler Reagan down the sideline for a 31-yard completion and a first down.
The Pirates went to the air again on the next play and Emerson found another open receiver.
This time it was Kory Locken who was able to elude the Bruin defense and run it in for a 46-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing extra point attempt, the Bruins were called for an offsides penalty and the Pirates got another shot, this time from the 1-yard line.
Instead of trying the extra point again, the Pirates decided to go for the two-point conversion and Matt Wiegand was able to fend off a pair of Bruin tacklers and get into the end zone for the 8-7 lead.
With three minutes left to play, the Bruins couldn't find another first down and turned the ball over on downs.
The Bruins had one more chance to get the ball back on third-and-four, but the Pirates were able to get the first down and thwart any chances the Bruins had of making a comeback.
"We dominated the entire second half up until that last drive," Coach Jim Keys said. "There are just some things we're not executing well. The main thing for us now is to keep the team focused."
The Bruins scored their only touchdown of the game on their first drive of the second half.
A 5-yard run by David Marrington and a 1-yard scramble by quarterback AJ Weber set the Bruins with third-and-four from the 39-yard line.
On the next play, Weber found Tyler Parke cutting across the middle, hit him between the numbers with the pass and Parke scampered into the end zone for the 39-yard touchdown.
Parke nailed the extra point attempt and gave the Bruins the 7-0 lead.
The Bruin defense did an excellent job holding the Pirates for the majority of the second half.
Seth McDonald had a big sack for the Bruins, along with help from Mike Althof and Neil Watson, and buried the quarterback for a loss of seven, which eventually led to a punt.
Marrington and the rest of the Bruin linebackers dolled out punishment on the Pirates with some big hits while Andrew Tuttle had several nice deflections in the secondary.
The Bruins had a chance to go up by two touchdowns on their first play of the fourth quarter, but a beautiful pass from Weber just barely fell through the hands of a wide open Tyler Drafahl.
Two possessions later, the Pirates were able to score the go ahead touchdown.
In the first half, the Bruins were able to eat up a majority of the first quarter on a lengthy opening drive.
An 8-yard pass from Weber to Drafahl and another 12-yard pass to Nick Morris helped the Bruins move the ball up the field, along with runs from Marrington and Morris.
The Bruins were able to get down to the 20-yard line, but a false start penalty and three straight incompletions left the Bruins stranded.
After the Bruins turned the ball over on downs, the Pirates made a mighty drive of their own, taking it all the way down to the Bruin 1-yard line.
But on fourth-and-goal from the one, the Bruin defense came up big and stuffed the Pirates at the line, led by McDonald and Mike Klein.
Tuttle gave the Bruins another chance to score as he made an excellent play, turning around and making a sliding interception to give the Bruins the ball.
The Bruins put together another long drive, highlighted by a pair of 14-yard runs from Morris, but once again, the Bruins made it down to the 20-yard line and couldn't get any further.
Neither team could get on the board in the first half until the Bruins scored early in the third quarter.
The offense was able to move the ball much more efficiently than last week and the Bruin passing game is coming along as well.
Morris led the Bruins on the ground with 59 yards, Marrington rushed for 54, Weber had 24 and Klein ran for 12.
Weber also had four completions for 66 yards.
The next game for the Bruins in on Friday, Sept. 21 at Hidden Valley at 7 p.m.
On Thursday, the JV Bruins also fell to the Pirates in Phoenix, 22-16.
Daniel Grubb returned a fumble 90 yards down to the 4-yard line to set up the Bruins first touchdown, which was a pass from Joey LaThorpe to Wolfgang Jacques. LaThorpe and Jacquez hooked up again for the two-point conversion.
The second Bruin touchdown was a 56-yard run by Dustin Paradis.
The next JV football game is on Thursday, Sept. 20 against Hidden Valley at home at 5 p.m.