Brendan Yu
Curry Coastal Pilot

After a promising start, the Brookings-Harbor High football team could not maintain their momentum and suffered a 7-38 loss to North Valley High in their season opener at Del Norte High Saturday afternoon after just two quarters of play.

The Bruins (0-1) began the game on a high note as Bailey Stamm took off for a 70-yard touchdown run less than a minute into the first quarter. On the ensuing possession, the Bruin’s defensive line followed up with a critical stop on a fourth-and-1 from their 10 yard line.

Afterwards however, the Bruins appeared to slowly fizzle out. After a quick three-and-out, the Knights responded with a 53-yard touchdown run and succeeded in a two-point conversion to take a 8-7 lead into second quarter.

At the start of the second quarter, the Knights built on their momentum with a 13-yard touchdown pass to take a 14-7 lead after failing another two-point conversion attempt.

“We’re awfully young and the kids got to learn how to keep battling. I didn’t talk about it exactly, but I was a little concerned after the little success that they’d let down and not keep their energy up,” said BHHS head coach Arnold Wardwell. “I think we had two seniors out there playing a lot, maybe three, and a couple handful of juniors; the rest are sophomores. It’s just they gotta grow.”

The Bruins looked to even the score on offense, but their 47-yard drive came to end after they failed to convert on a fourth-and-10 at the 20-yard line. With 4 minutes to go in the second quarter, the Knights tripled their lead with a 32-yard touchdown-run and a successful two-point conversion to go up 22-7.

In the closing moments of the game, the Bruins fumbled the ball and had a pass intercepted to give way to two more North Valley touchdowns before halftime. Wardwell attributed the late game mistakes to fatigue and exhaustion.

“That’s kind of on me for not making the substitutions,” Wardwell said. “They were just tired.”

Due to concerns about the air quality, stemming from the Chetco Bar Fire, the game was called off at halftime. Prior to the game, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Del Norte came in just below the unhealthy threshold level of 150 at 146.

While the API had decreased to 133 at halftime, Brookings-Harbor High athletics director Buell Gonzales Jr. made the decision to call off the game. Gonzales stated that there was “no way” that measurement was correct, and noted that the smog around the high school had noticeably thickened since the start of the game.

The Bruins will look to rebound on the road next Friday when the travel to Hidden Valley. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.