Friday night at the Little Rose Bowl was Military Appreciation Night, which included festivities before the game and during half time to honor those who have served and are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces. The Bear football team did all they could on the field to honor those who serve, coming out on top of the North Cedar Knights with a 35-14 victory.
On the first possession of the game, the Knights were putting together a nice drive, but in steps Jacob Graves. The junior corner back picked off a North Cedar pass for his 6th interception of the season, tying the school record for most in one season. More on Graves later.
The Bear offense was having a rough time getting the night started as their first drive stalled and resulted in a punt, while the second one ended in an interception that North Cedar took 85 yards for the first score of the game. 7-0 North Cedar.
The Bears needed to respond, and that's just what they did with a 68 yard drive that resulted in a three yard touchdown run by Luke Lenoch, who fought for every inch on the powerful run. Javier Zamudio's PAT kick was good and the game was tied at 7.
Remember how we said there would be more on Graves later? Well, on the Knights' drive folowing the Bears score, Graves came up big again. On a fly route down the North Cedar sideline, Graves was in perfect position to pick off the pass, giving him his 7th interception of the season, which is a new school record.
After a stalled drive by each team, the Bears forced a North Cedar punt, backed deep into their own territory. After a bad snap on the punt, the Bears tackled the Knight punter at the two yard line, setting up a very short porch for the West Branch offense. They capitalized right away thanks for a fullback dive from senior for the touchdown. 14-7 Bears late first half.
That didn't sit well with the Knights. After a beautiful play action fake, quarterback Carter Johnson found Greg Hansen on a fly route that resulted in a 75 yard touchdown pitch and catch to tie the game up at 14 going into the half.
After an emotional half time both on the field honoring Military service members, and off the field in the team locker room, the West Branch offense came out firing. Lead by a heavy dose of Luke Lenoch, the Bears went 67 yards on 13 plays into the endzone to open the half. Fittingly, Lenoch was the one to end the drive on a highlight reel 13 yard touchdown run. 21-14 Bears mid way through the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was more (and more) Luke Lenoch as the senior running back finished two more drives with rushing touchdowns to give the Bears a 35-14 lead. Lenoch finished with night with four touchdowns and 231 yards on a school record 42 carries.
The 21 point gap was al lthe Bears needed to close out the game and win 35-14.
This week's Red Buffalo Tree Service Player of the Game is junior Jacob Graves. Check out Jacob's interview below.
With the win Friday night, the Bears improve to 5-2 overall and 4-1 in District 3, which is good for a tie in second place with Clayton Ridge. However, thanks to the 17-point rule, the Bears have the tie-breaker edge.
Next week, the Bears travel to Tipton for a very important District matchup with the Tigers to stay in the playoff hunt.
Cooper Kabela: 5/16, 29 yards, 2 INT
Luke Lenoch: 42 carries, 231 yards, 4 TD
Cale Donovan: 8 carries, 57 yards, 1 TD
Cooper Kabela: 6 carries, 42 yards
Tanner Lukavksy: 2 catches, 13 yards
Ben Thompson: 1 catch, 11 yards
Luke Lenoch: 1 catch, 3 yards
Brett Schiele: 1 catch, 2 yards
Jacob Graves: 7 tackles, 2 INT
Luke Lenoch: 6 tackles
Garret Tucker: 5 tackles
Ben Thompson: 5 tackles
Tanner Lukavsky: 4 tackles, 1 INT
Billy Friis: 4 tackles, 1 sack