Generally speaking, when a team's defense pitches a shutout, the team wins. Not so for the Dolores Bears, however, who fell 2-0 to the Center Vikings on Friday, Oct. 4.
Throughout the contest, the Bears' offense was inept, fumbling twice on their first possession and failing to accurately snap the ball throughout the game.
"Just like every game we've had this year, we just haven't been able to overcome simple mental mistakes," said Bears' head coach Chris Trusler. "If the ball doesn't make it from the center to the quarterback, there is no way that an offense can be successful."
While the Bears' offense struggled, the defense shined, led by seniors Ethan Upton, Evan Moore and junior Dalton Madden. Upton registered 14 tackles and an interception, Moore recorded 14 tackles and Madden had an interception.
"Our defense did an outstanding job the whole game," Trusler said. "Center got down inside our 5-yard-line multiple times and we were able to stop them."
Late in the fourth quarter however, one Vikings' drive deep into Dolores territory doomed the Bears.
After stopping the Vikings on a 4th and goal, the Bears took over at their own 1-yard-line and after Madden dropped back to pass and collided with Upton, who was moving forward into pass protection, the Vikings tackled the Bears in the Dolores end-zone for a safety.
Down 2-0 later in the fourth quarter, Upton brought the crowd to its feet with an interception return for a touchdown, which, if it had stood, would have given the Bears the lead.
An illegal block in the back by a Bears' player voided the touchdown, however, thus deflating the home team and the home crowd.
"It's was a mental mistake," said Trusler. "One bad decision can ultimately affect any play on the field. When kids are hyped up and wanting to give it all that they have on every play, sometimes things like that are going to happen."
Clearly deflated, but in no way down and out, the Bears would drive into Dolores territory, but their chances would end when Madden's pass into the end zone was intercepted by a Vikings defensive back after the ball caromed off Bears' senior Deano Valdez.
Center would subsequently run out the clock, improving their record to 5-1 on the year. With the loss, the Bears dropped to 1-4 on the season.
Next up for Dolores will be a road matchup against Monte Vista on Oct. 11.
"Monte Vista is a real tough team," Trusler said. "They run a different style of offense than we have been playing. My seniors have never beaten Monte Vista in their high school career. We would like to do that."