Bear River had so many opportunities, but they made too many mistakes. Those mistakes translated into a heart wrenching, season-ending 23-17 loss to the Deseret Hills Thunder in the 3A State Quarterfinals.
A couple of untimely turnovers and bad penalties added up to the Bears demise. Deseret Hills had a 23-10 lead going into the 4th quarter but as the Bears have always done under the very respected coach Chris Wise, they competed to the end.
The defense time and time again gave the Bears hope with defensive stops, the last one occurring late in the fourth and the Thunder decided to go for it on 4th and 5. The Thunder pass was knocked down giving the Kyle Zundel and the Bears one last chance down 23-17.
The Bears completed two passes and had a first down. After another short completion, followed by second down incomplete pass, the Bears were facing 3rd and 6. On the ensuing play Zundel was hurried out of the pocket and threw it away. Only problem was that there was not a receiver within eight yards of the throw resulting in an intentional grounding penalty, loss of down.
Desert Hills took over the ball to close out the game. Coach Wise was emotional in his post game radio interview, stating that he would really miss the seniors and their leadership.
“These guys have really learned some life lessons,” Wise said. “I am very excited about our underclassmen, but what I am really looking forward to is what these Seniors will do in their lives.
“You could not get a more (distant) playoff game between two teams, and for us to travel to the bottom of the state and have the fan base that we did down here, that is what I appreciate the most. I love my wife and my life.”
The Bears finished the season 7-5.