Undefeated at 5-0, the Brookings-Harbor Bruins football team came away with a convincing 35-14 first league win over 3A Special District-South bunk mate South Umpqua.
But for a while, it was scary.
The host Lancers, didn't exactly roll out the welcome mat making the Bruins work for the victory after taking a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter right from the get go. It would be the first time the Bruins would find themselves behind in a game this season.
On the opening kick off return the Lancers speedster, Caj Simmons, went coast to coast running deep into Bruin territory, After a costly Bruin collar tackle infraction, the stage was set for South Umpqua's the first score when quarterback, Josh Deister, connected with Simmons from 12 yards out on the very next play making it 7-0 Lancers after the successful PAT cleared the uprights. On the follow up kick off BHHS went three and out. The Lancer's next possession had Deister at it again burning the Bruins safety for a 50 yard strike in the air to place the ball on the Brookings 4 yard line. A quick flip to Simmons in the end zone and presto, SUHS was up 14-0 to close the quarter.
Second quarter action found the Bruins awakening from their first quarter hibernation to get back into the game to pull within one point, 14-13 by half time. On the wham bam physicality of Bruin back, Mannie Zamora, who had over 100 yards rushing on the night, BHHS advanced to the South Umpqua 10 where Bradley Conduracki muscled into pay dirt from one yard out. Score SU 14 BHHS 7. Then with the Bruins on the move yet again, a gutsy 4th and 12 call by Coach Shaun Bavaro from the Lancer's 12 had Bruin quarterback, Ethan Hooper hitting wide receiver, Jason Deshon, across the traffic into the end zone to make it South Umpqua 14-Brookings 13 after the PAT sailed wide right to end a quarter that saw the Lancers throw three interceptions.
After the intermission, the Bruins once again called on the services of Zamora who fast walked the opening kick eventually into another score by eating up an average of 5 yards per carry on the evening. Another missed PAT the lead switched hands with Brookings on top by 5 points 19-14 to round out the third frame.
South Umpqua started to see the game slipping away when a fumbled snap placed the Bruins with great field position at the 6 yard marker. Quarterback Logan Holler took the ball staring down at 4th and 7 by running a keeper over the top of two SU defenders to make it 27-14. The final score came when a Lancer's fair catch went awry giving BHHS the go ahead TD with Hooper connecting with Tuttle for the 35-14 game winner.
Bavaro was enjoying the moment.
"5 and 0. That feels good! I was proud of my guys for hanging in there and making the adjustments we needed to make and to keep their heads in the game when we were trailing early on." Adding "South Umpqua played hard through out and didn't make it easy for us. We were able to take advantage of their turn overs and rose to the challenge."
Next week is homecoming and the Bruins host Douglas at Elmer Bankus Field.
Catch the full preview of that game in Wednesday's Pilot.