By Mathew Brock

Pilot Sports Writer

The Bruins faced the South Umpqua Lancers Friday night for a slugging match on the football field. The Lancers scored the first touchdown, but the Bruins came out in force during the second half to take an overwhelming 28-7 victory.

“Our defense played unbelievably. Coach Holly, our defensive coordinator, has been doing this for a long time. To him it’s another day, but for these kids, it was just great,” Bruins Head Coach Shaun Bavaro said. “You can’t be more excited for these kids for working their butts off to get us where we’re at. Each game it’s getting bigger.”

This puts the Bruins at an impressive 4-1 overall and secured them their first league victory of the season against one of their longtime opponents who moved down to the 4A level with them.

The Bruins kicked off and went on to trade punts with the Lancers for most of the first quarter. Things heated up in the second quarter as the Lancers recovered a fumble and managed to drive for a touchdown and extra point. The Bruins rebutted near the end of the second by recovering a fumble as well, which was then run in by Andrew Burger. After that, the Bruins completed a pass play on the extra point to put themselves just ahead of the Lancers at 8-7 at the end the half.

The second half saw the Bruins receive, but neither team managed to gain much ground into the opponent’s in-zone due to many strong defensive stops on both sides. Both teams spent most of the quarter trading punts until the Lancers managed to drive the ball to the Bruins 10-yard line, but an interception by Jesse Lutge saw the Bruins run the ball all the way back to score a touchdown. They missed the extra point, but entered the fourth quarter ahead at 14-7.

Neither team managed to gain much ground until halfway through the final quarter when Derek Bonde of the Bruins caught a touchdown pass. An extra point put the Bruins ahead at a comfortable 21-7. Right after the Lancers received the following kickoff from the Bruins, Payton Armentrout intercepted a pass and ran the ball in to top things off at 28-7 after another successful kick. From there it was a matter of winding down the clock.

Bavaro has been very impressed with the Bruins progress this season and felt that the team has gotten very strong all around. He admits that the team’s offensive efforts still need some polishing, but was greatly impressed by the Bruins defensive efforts.

“Tonight it was our defense, but some nights it’s gonna be up to special teams, some nights it’s gonna be up to offense,” Bavaro said. “Our offense is almost there, but we’re not clicking quite yet.”

One of the biggest achievements of the night was the Bruins keeping their penalties to a minimum after struggling to avoid them earlier in the season.

“We went from double digits to only a couple. We’re still gonna have some odds and ends, but these are high school kids so there’s gonna be some,” Bavaro said.

The Bruins next opponent will be the Douglas Trojans, another team that has moved down to the 3A level with the Bruins from their old 4A league. The Bruins travel to play the Trojans at Douglas next Friday at 7 p.m.

“They’re a familiar foe who have been in our league for many years,” Bavaro said. “We haven’t broken out the tape yet, but I know they run spread out and are a throw, throw, throw and technical team. We’re gonna need to spread out our coverage.”

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