By Mathew Brock

Pilot Sports Writer

The Bruins and the Hidden Valley Mustangs clashed Friday night to see who would take the third-place spot in the OSAA Special District 2 and a shot at the 3A state playoffs. The two teams were evenly matched in the first half with the Mustangs only just ahead at 7-6, but in the end, a big third quarter for the Mustangs saw them secure a 24-12 victory over the Bruins.

“We had some chances there to score and make some plays, but we just couldn’t get it done tonight,” said Bruins coach Shaun Bavaro. “The kids battled all season and we’re feeling a little rough in the locker room tonight, but we’ll be back. We’ve come a long ways and still have a long ways to go.”

Ending their season at 5-4 overall and 2-3 in league play, the Bruins wrap things up at fourth place in the OSAA Special District 2, just behind the Mustangs in third at 3-2.

The Bruins kicked off at the start of Friday’s game leading to the Mustangs mounting a strong drive early in the first quarter. This resulted in a touchdown near the 9-minute mark and a clean extra point kick to take things to 7-0. The Two teams then traded possession back and forth from there until well into the second quarter.

The Bruins then broke away and scored with less than a minute on the clock before the end of the half. While going for the extra point, a series of penalties for the Mustangs put the ball dangerously close to their goal line, which prompted the Bruins to go for a pass instead of a kick in an attempt to snatch the lead. They were unable to make the connection and thus ended the half at 7-6 in the Mustangs favor.

During halftime, the Brookings-Harbor cheer team lead a group of youth cheerleaders from their recent cheer camp through a halftime show routine. The boys cross country team was also honored for taking first place at their district meet on Thursday.

The second half began with the Bruins receiving the kickoff but getting stopped by the Mustangs before gaining much ground. The Mustangs began a slow but steady drive, only to be stopped near the Bruins 15-yard line. There they opted for a field goal to put them further ahead at 10-6.

After receiving, the Bruins began another drive but were cut short by an interception. From there the Mustangs stole the momentum and managed two more touchdowns before the end of the third quarter.

It was 24-6 going into the final quarter with the Bruins in control of the ball and as they managed to regain some momentum. The Mustangs managed to hold the Bruins at first but as the game wore down they were determined to get one more touchdown and scored with roughly 3 minutes left on the clock to take things to 24-12. The Mustang’s took possession after the kick and simply wore down the clock to end at 24-12.

“We’ve come a long way. To come so many years in a rut and finally put ourselves in a position to go to playoffs. That’s pretty big time,” Bavaro said.

The Bruins plan to host their annual awards banquet sometime in early November to wrap up the season. After that, they’ll pick things up next year on January first to start getting ready for their 2019 season.

“We’ll finish the term out and make sure everyone’s keeps up with their grades and then transitions the kids into their winter sports,” Bavaro said. “We’re a year-round operation. I’m excited to see them play their other sports this year and I think it’s important for them to play as many sports as possible to help them develop into fine young men.”

The Bruins graduate a total of eight seniors this year as they bid farewell to Brig Schofield, Marcus Clay, Aiden Straham, Nick Martinez, Harley Waddell, Ethan Warner, Nicholas Dodson and Jacob Wellenbrock.

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