It took almost four games, 15 total quarters to be exact, for the Dolores Bears' new-fangled spread offense to get going. But when it did, was it effective.
Playing on the road against the Del Norte Tigers on Friday, Sept. 27, the Bears rode a 27-point fourth quarter to a 34-0 victory, improving their record to 1-3 on the year.
Certainly an impressive result, but for the Bears, things did not start well, as the team scored only one first half touchdown and entered the locker room at halftime with a 7-0 lead.
"We're still not really firing off until the second half," said Bears' head coach Chris Trusler. "It seems like it has been taking us a little while to get in our groove."
By the fourth quarter, however, the Bears were clicking on all cylinders, scoring multiple touchdowns, including two on throws by Ethan Upton.
One Upton scoring pass went to Guy Wallace, who scored from 18 yards out, while the other fell into the arms of Jackson Vermeule, who took the ball into the end zone from 63-yards away.
In addition to Upton's passing performance, the standout senior recorded 168 yards rushing on 23 carries, 81 passing yards and also scored one rushing touchdown.
Bears starting quarterback Jalen Balderama also played well, managing the offense effectively and scoring one rushing touchdown.
On defense, Upton and Casey Davis had interceptions, Kellen Gatzke recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown and Ben Baker had three sacks.
"We did an onside kick in the second half and recovered it," said Trusler, discussing what ignited his team in the second half. "That really boosted up the moral and fire in the guys. From that point, we were able to do what we wanted. The kids got fired up and started executing."
The Bears are preparing for their Friday, Oct. 4, homecoming game against the Center High School Vikings.
"The kids have some confidence and fire in their eyes right now," Trusler said. "Center is a very balanced team. We're looking forward to being able to execute like we did against Del Norte."