By Mathew Brock

Pilot Sports Writer

The Bruins faced their biggest challenge of the year Friday night when they travelled to Medford to take on the Cascade Christian Challengers on Homecoming night. The 3A Oregon state champions overwhelmed the Bruins at 52-7 in the first half, leading to a 59-20 victory for the Challengers as the game drew to a close.

“The kids battled a little bit and we made some plays. We felt like we had it for a minute at the start when we went to 14-7, but after that the floodgates just opened on us,” said Bruins head coach Shaun Bavaro.

With this loss, the Bruins are 2-2 in league play sitting at third place in the 3A Special District 2. They sit right behind the two undefeated teams of the league, the Challengers and St. the Mary’s Crusaders. The Bruins are 5-3 overall this season and were last reported to be ranked No. 12 in the OSAA 3A rankings.

The Bruins kicked off to start, which led into a Challengers-centric first half. The Challengers simply overwhelmed the Bruins both offensively and defensively early on as they scored two quick touchdowns in the first quarter to take things up to 14-0. The Bruins managed a rebuttal with a touchdown of their own from Derek Bonde, but the Challengers responded with another touchdown before the quarter ended to take things up to 22-7.

The second quarter proved to be even more overwhelming for the Bruins than the first. The Challengers threw a series of touchdown passes and ran a few two-point conversions to really start racking up points, ending the half at 52-7.

The Bruins came out in force in the second half while the Challengers focused on running out the clock. The Bruins received, but lost the ball as the Challengers scored their final touchdown of the game. As the quarter drew to a close, Marcus Clay of the Bruins managed one more touchdown take things to 59-13.

The Challengers continued to run the clock in the final quarter, but Clay managed one more touchdown on a fumble-return and an extra point to finish the game off at 59-20. The game ended with the challengers at a whopping 488 total yards to the Bruins 131.

Bavaro said he was impressed with the Bruins passing and running game on Friday night, though facing a team like Cascade Christian presented few opportunities for them to shine. The Bruins also made headway on minimizing their penalties, with only two in the first half and one in the second.

“The kids had a strong second half so after that there’s really nothing else we can do but keep working,” Bavaro said.

The Bruins play their final scheduled game of the season on Friday night at 7 p.m. against the Hidden Valley Mustangs. It will be senior night for the Bruins, where they will say farewell to eight players. The Mustangs are the closest matched team in the Bruins current league, with the two currently competing for third place in the league.

“This will be all about getting us into playoffs and it’ll be a big game,” Bavaro said. “We always wan’t to play the big games so it’ll be a good experience for the kids in the end.

This article was written in part with information provided by theDove radio.

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