A few plays here and there, and the Bear River football team could have been undefeated three games into the Region 11 schedule.
Instead, the Bears find themselves tied at the bottom of the region standings after another close, heartbreaking loss.
The latest setback came at the hands of Green Canyon, which visited Garland on Friday, Sept. 25 and came away with a one-point victory on the final drive of the game.
Jake Lundin threw for 303 yards and four touchdowns — the final scoring pass to Caden Stuart with eight seconds remaining in the fourth quarter — and the Wolves edged the Bears 27-26 in a thrilling contest that featured seven lead changes.
The Wolves (4-3, 2-1) came away with the win despite giving up 278 rushing yards to standout Bear River running back Kace Jones. The Bears’ offense ran five more plays and outgained the Wolves 434 to 328 yards overall, but came up just short on the scoreboard.
“That Bear River team is a very, very good team,” Green Canyon head coach Craig Anhder said. “Their running back, No. 7 (Kace Jones), he played both ways and that kid is amazing, a great athlete. We’ve got a lot of respect for him.”
Lundin tossed three of his touchdowns in the second half and was sensational on Green Canyon’s stirring game-winning drive. The senior completed passes to four different teammates and found Stuart on a quick out for a 4-yard scoring pass on third and goal.
Bear River blocked Green Canyon’s first point-after attempt to take the lead, but the athlete who made the play was called offside, and the reboot made it through the uprights to seal the outcome.
Weston Ballard kicked a 36-yard field goal in the first quarter to start the scoring for the Bears. Jones’ 5-yard touchdown run just before halftime gave Bear River a 10-7 lead at halftime.
Green Canyon took a 14-10 lead on the only touchdown of the third quarter, but Jones responded with another touchdown run and successful two-point conversion to regain the lead for the home team. Chance Udy’s 4-yard touchdown run, capped by another two-point conversion by Jones, put the Bears up 26-20 with a little more than three minutes remaining, setting up the Wolves’ winning drive.
Despite losing three region games by just 11 points combined, the Bears are still in the hunt for a playoff spot with two region games to go. Up next is a trip this Friday to Mountain Crest, which is also looking for its first region win.
Herald Journal sports writer Jason Turner contributed to this article.