For roughly one quarter, the Dolores Bears football team hung tough. Then, things went south in a big hurry.
Playing at home in brisk fall weather against the Centauri Falcons on Friday, Oct. 18, the Bears played hard, but found themselves on the wrong end of a 57-7 final score.
Throughout the game's first thirteen minutes, the Bears stood toe to toe with one of the state's top 2A teams, yielding only one touchdown, which came courtesy of a one yard scoring run by Falcons' running back Jareb Aziz.
"I asked the team to be fired up for the game and they were," said Bears' head coach Chris Trusler. "Our defense was stopping them. Things started on a positive note."
Things quickly fell apart for the Bears however, who surrendered a touchdown to Aziz on a 30 yard screen pass and a punt return touchdown to Jason Buhr within the first two minutes of the second quarter.
Trailing 20-0 and looking shell shocked, the Bears produced one of their finest plays of the season when freshman Tristan Medina hooked up with senior Deano Valdez on a slant pattern for a 51 yard score, narrowing the gap to 20-7.
"I saw the middle open," said Medina. "I just led him right to the ball."
"It felt pretty awesome," Valdez said, describing the play. "Our quarterback did a great job of tossing the ball. It was a perfect pass. I caught it and just turned the wheels on and ran it in."
Unfortunately for the Bears, the long touchdown turned out to be the team's only score of the game.
Plagued by poor offensive line play, turnovers, the inability to field onside kicks and the inability to defend a stout Falcons passing attack, the Bears yielded three touchdowns before halftime to trail 38-7 entering the locker room.
"We've just got to work on the basics," said Bears' junior Guy Wallace. "We come out in the beginning of the game, and we can stand with a team. Then we get down on ourselves."
Playing the second half without standout running back/linebacker Ethen Upton (rib injury), the Bears continued to have difficulties, yielding rushing touchdowns to Aziz and James Richardson to fall behind 50-7 with 6:16 left in the third quarter.
From then on, the Bears had nothing to play for but pride, yet the team continued to fight to the bitter end, allowing only one touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"Our team has a lot of heart this year," said Bears' senior Rusher Ammon. "We really dig deep, and we come together as one. Today, things didn't work out as well, but next week is going to be a different story."
"The kids represented the school and their families very well tonight," added Trusler. "They were good sportsmen and you can't ask for anything more than that."
Next up for the Bears is a road matchup against the Ignacio Bobcats on Friday, Oct. 25, in what will be the Dolores' final game of the season.
"We just have to try to end on a positive note," said Trusler. "We have to work on fixing the mistakes we had tonight. We have to hope for the best."