By Wesley Meacham,
For The Leader
PRESTON — It’s not the kind of night Preston coach Nick Hyde imagined for his first game as head coach.
The Bear River Bears came into Preston and put a licking on the home team to the tune of a 44-6 loss. The Bears now put their focus on a matchup with Box Elder next Friday in Garland. The Bees are also 2-0 and feature a high-powered offense led by junior Shad Watson.
While the Preston offense struggled finishing drives — four red zone trips ended scoreless — the other side of the ball had woes of its own. The Indians held the Bears’ running game in check, but the air attack was nearly flawless for Bear River.
Bear River’s Kyle Zundel went 12 of 14 on the night for 281 yards and four touchdowns. Time and time again he found wide open receivers who seemed to slip unnoticed through the Preston defensive backfield, including an 80-yard bomb with just five seconds to go in the first half.
“It just seemed like, when they wanted to move the ball, they just threw it up in the air,” Hyde said. “Bonehead plays when you fall asleep. Five seconds to go and we’re in nickel coverage, and we’ve got safeties and backs biting on the run. That’s my fault. I’ve got to coach them up better.”
Preston rotated in several different DBs, trying to find which players would fill that role the best, but nothing could stop the Bears’ passing game.
“We learned a lot about our defensive backs and safeties,” Hyde said. “Once they started passing, it turned ugly. That’s one thing we are really going to work on.”
After alternating series to start the game, the Bears struck first with a big 76-yard pass from Zundel to Colton Jensen.
The second quarter saw more of the same. Zundel connected with Garrett Fronk for a 17-yard scoring strike, and then, with just five seconds to go in the half he found a wide open Jensen for an 80-yard score.
The Bears got things going right away in the second half with a nine-play drive that was capped with a 17-yard toss to Wade Miller for another score.
The Indians struck on their first drive of the half, thanks to two big runs — a 21 yard run by Tyson Lumbreras and a 45-yard score by Tate Johnson.
Other than the one drive, the Indian offense failed to sustain and punctuate drives. To start the game, Preston ate up seven minutes of clock with a nice 14-play drive, but ended up stalling midfield. That initial drive seemed to set the tone for the whole night.
“I think we got tired,” Lumbreras said. “We pushed down the whole field and then just got tired the last 20 yards.”
While the Indians as a team seemed to wear out, Lumbreras seemed to build up steam as the night waned on. Lumbreras rushed the ball 21 times for 175 yards. Johnson added 60 yards.
While Hyde loved the output from Lumbreras, he does not want to run him 21 times a game and wear him out before district play even begins. Look for him to work Johnson into the game more often.
Kaden Spackman got the starting nod at the quarterback position for the Indians, but after about a quarter of play, Hyde pulled him and put in sophomore Derek Fryar. Fryar did a good job of managing the game, according to Hyde.
“Our quarterbacks are young and inexperienced, but they came in and did relatively well,” Hyde said. “I was real pleased with Derek Fryar coming in. He played real well for a sophomore coming in.”
As it stands right now, Hyde is planning on giving Fryar the starting role next week.
Both quarterbacks missed connecting with Preston receivers, with several of those opportunities just inches away from being big receptions and touchdowns.
“It’s a game of inches. … You look at the score, it looks like we got our butts completely handed to us, but if we would have had a few of those, it’s a different ball game,” Hyde said.
The Indians will look to regroup this week in practice and prepare for their first road game of the season. Preston travels to Marsh Valley next Friday.
BEARS 44, INDIANS 6
Friday at Preston
Bear River 7 17 7 13 — 44
Preston 0 0 6 0 — 6
BR — Colton Jensen 76 pass from Kyle Zundel (Jared Olsen kick), 1:30.
BR — Garrett Fronk 17 pass from Zungel (Olsen kick), 10:54.
BR — Olsen 37 field goal, 2:49.
BR — Jensen 80 pass from zundel (Olsen kick), 0:5.1.
BR — Wade Miller 17 pass from Zundel (Olsen kick), 8:39.
P — Tate Johnson 45 run (Kick failed), 6:30.
BR — JarDee Nessen 17 run (Kick failed), 2:00.
BR — Tyson Prom 3 run (Olsen kick), 0:29.
First downs 14 13
Rushes-yards 22-80 42-213
Comp-Att-Int 13-17-0 2-13-2
Passing Yards 285 25
Total Yards 365 238
Penalties-yards 10-75 8-73
Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-1
RUSHING — Bear River, Triston RAmos 1-(-1), Kyle Zundel 5-17, #42 2-7, Jeremie Selman 5-14, Nessen 3-12, Tyson Prom 5-33, #11 1-(-2). Preston, Tyson Lumbreras 21-175, Tate Johnson 12-60, Kaden Spackman 1-(-1), Erick Silva 1-2, Derek Fryar 3-(-32), Courd Jones 2-14.
PASSING — Zundel 12-14-0 281, Nessen 1-3-0 4. Preston, Kaden Spackman 0-5-1 0, Derek Fryar 2-8-1 25.
RECEIVING — Jensen 4-171, Miller 5-60, Fronk 2-50, Toby Haltiner 1-0, #45 1-4. Preston, Taylor Smellie 1-10, Kaden Cole 1-15.