Wrapping up an extremely difficult three-game stretch to open the season, the Dolores Bears football lost to the Paonia Eagles 48-6 on Friday, Sept. 20. With the loss, the Bears dropped to 0-3 on the season while with the win, the Eagles' improved to 3-1.
Starting slowly for the third consecutive game, the Bears were haunted by early miscues, including a botched snap on a punt attempt, and by the end of the first quarter, trailed 21-0.
Problems continued for the Bears into the second quarter as Paonia's offense continued to find the end zone, and after three more touchdowns, the Eagles led 40-0 at the half.
"It was kind of the same," said Bears' head coach Chris Trusler, describing his team's early-game struggles. "The first half, we made a lot of mistakes."
Things began to come together for the Bears in the second half, however, as the Bears' defense limited the Eagles to one touchdown in the third quarter.
"It seems that so far this year, it is taking the guys until the second half to get in tune and get going," said Trusler. "The first three games, the second half, the kids are in sync."
Building on their third quarter successes, the Bears' offense came to life in the fourth quarter, scoring the team's first touchdown of the season on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by sophomore quarterback Jalen Balderrama. With the score, the Bears cut the Eagles lead to 48-6.
"It was really relieving for the guys to finally get rid of that goose egg and put points on the board," Trusler said, of his team's touchdown.
Among players cited by Trusler for their outstanding individual effort was Bears' senior linebacker Easton Upton, who was in on multiple tackles throughout the game.
Looking to finally break into the win column, the Bears will next travel to Del Norte to face Del Norte High School on Saturday, Sept. 28.
"We're feeling pretty confident about the (Del Norte) game and so are the kids," said Trusler.