Last night the Brookings-Harbor Bruins and Gold Beach Panthers faced off on the football field for the first time in many years. After keeping things close in the first three quarters, the Bruins pulled ahead to take a 26-6 victory.

Years prior, the Bruins and Panthers were separated by two divisions but with the Bruins recent change to the 3A level, the teams decided to begin their respective seasons by reigniting their old rivalry.

The Bruins kicked off in the first half and managed to hold the Panthers in check for most of the first quarter. The Panthers were forced to punt near the 5-minute mark but recovered the ball. They still weren’t able to gain much ground however and punted again near the end of the quarter.

The Bruins took possession and managed to score early in the second quarter for a touchdown and an extra point to gain a 7-0 lead.

The Panthers received the ball and began a slow but steady drive, only to be stopped by the Bruins with 3 minutes left in the half. The Bruins went back and forth in terms of yardage and ran out of time

After receiving at the start of the second half, the Bruins made a steady drive. They were then stopped at the 15-yard line at the 4-minute mark and driven back 35-yards before losing possession.

Neither team made much ground until the final quarter, where the Bruins finally broke away and scored three consecutive touchdowns, one of which resulted from Kelvon’te Dawsey recovering a kickoff and running it in for 86 yards.

The Panthers rallied for one last attempt before the game ended and saw Brandon Seusor-Smith run a 60-yard touchdown with 10 seconds to spare. The game ended at 26-6 after the following kickoff.

While the Bruins took a solid win, their performance was accompanied by many penalty calls.

“The kids battled and showed a lot of intensity, but we managed to shoot ourselves in the foot a lot tonight ” said Bruins coach Shaun Bavaro. “We have room for improvement across the board. Most of our mistakes were purely knowledge based because we’re still a very young team.”

Bavaro plans to continue focusing on the basics in practice and hopes to cut down on the team’s simpler mistakes moving forward.

For the Panthers, they experienced going up against a much larger team, but managed to keep things close despite the 3A/2A divide.

“They had better athletes than we did tonight, said Panthers coach Kevin Swift. “We’re a young team. We lost 14 kids last year, but they didn’t give up, so we’ll ramp things up in practice and keep at it.”

Swift says most of the responsibility will fall on him and the coaching staff moving forward to help fill in the gaps left by last years graduating seniors.

The Bruins play again next Friday when they travel to Del Norte High School to face the Warriors at 7:30 p.m in a non-league game. The Panthers also play again next Friday when they travel to Cave Junction to play the Illinois Valley Cougars at 7 p.m. in a non-league game.