By Mathew Brock

Pilot Sports Writer

This year was full of fresh starts for the Bruins football team. Coach Shaun Bavaro took the reins of head coach for the first time and Brookings-Harbor High School moved down from 4A to 3A classification starting this season.

“We had a good year, but we’ll be back next year, which is whats most important,” said Bavaro said during the ceremony. “We’re going to build a quality program that will have kids wanting to come out.”

After wrapping up play against Amity in the first round of playoffs on Nov. 2, the Bruins concluded their year with their annual awards banquet, where the team’s players, coaches and assistants were recognized for their achievements this year.

The Bruins received many league awards despite the heavy competition they faced with three other playoff-bound teams in their league. League awards are decided entirely by votes from coaching staff from other teams in the league, meaning the Bruins coaches had no say in who would be awarded.

Brig Schofield won Defensive Player of the Year, as well as first team honors for defense and second team honors for offense. Averi Winn and Kelvonte Dawsey also earned first team honors for defense, while Logan Holler earned an honorable mention.

Averi Winn also got first team honors for offense, while Andrew Burger, Derek Bonde, Jacub McCollum, Jason Vanginderen, each earned second team honors. Jesse Lutge and Louie Blandau received honorable mentions.

Oggie Badger and Dawset also received honorable mentions in punting and returning, respectfully.

The Bruins also found success in the classroom, with Brad Russell, Schofield, Ethan Hooper, Ethan Warner, Vanginderen, Kayson Christensen and Manny Zamora receiving Scholar Athlete awards for exceeding 3.5 GPAs during the season.

The Bruins opened their season against the nearby Gold Beach Panthers in a non-league game for a clean 26-6 win to kick off their season. After that, they took a trip across the border to take on Del Norte for a 35-0 loss against the playoff-bound California team.

Bouncing back, the Bruins took on Rogue River for a 29-0 win and then Lakeview, another playoff-bound team, for a close 21-20 win. The Bruins then went on a four-game winning streak as they began league play against South Umpqua for a 28-7 win and Douglas for a close 19-18 win.

It was at that point the Bruins hit a wall, however, as they went up against the private school St. Mary’s. St. Mary’s took a wide 49-7 win against the Bruins during Homecoming, breaking their streak.

The next week the Bruins faced Cascade Christian, the reigning 3A state champions who have yet to lose a game in their league since being placed into it. While the Bruins were met with a 59-20 loss, they scored as many points against the state champions than the entire rest of the team combined.

From there, the Bruins had a shot at the state playoffs as they were tied for the third-ranked seat in the league with their final opponent, Hidden Valley. The two teams Had both won twice and lost twice, putting them on even standing for their final match of the league season.

In the end, the Bruins couldn’t overcome Hidden Valley and lost at 24-12, but their season wouldn’t in there. While the top 12 teams each earned a spot in the playoffs, four seats remained open and were decided with an at-large bid. The Bruins won and advanced to the first round of playoffs.

The Bruins faced Amity in the first round, the second-highest ranked 3A team in the state, who would go on to challenge Cascade Christian today in the semifinals. Unable to find much traction, the Bruins weren’t able to score until the final seconds of the game as they ended at 52-6 in Amity’s favor.

The Bruins ended their season in the first round of the playoffs, a feat the team hasn’t attained in recent memory, but also held their own against six playoff teams throughout the season.

The Bruins ended their season at an even 5-5 overall and 2-3 in league play. They ended league play ranked No. 15 in the OSAA 3A rankings and were third in their new league, OSAA Special District 2.

The Bruins graduate eight seniors this year, saying goodbye to Brig Schofield, Marcus Clay, Aiden Straham, Nick Martinez, Harley Waddell, Ethan Warner, Nicholas Dodson and Jacob Wellenbrock.

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