The Bear River football team showed signs of being competitive in their state playoff game against Pine View in St. George. Ultimately, mistakes, and turnovers proved to be too much as Pine View’s talent and athleticism were too much for the Bear Gridders. When the final horn blew, the Bears were 49-7 losers to a talented Pine View team.
Ex-BYU head coach Gary Crowton’s son, Macloud Crowton, who is leading the state in many passing categories, led the Panthers team. The Panthers also boasted sophomore twin brothers Dominique and Marcus McKenzie. The McKenzie brothers’ father, Brian McKenzie, played halfback at BYU in the late 1990s, leading the team in rushing as a junior and senior.
The Bears were able to stop the Panthers on the opening series, but were unable to put together any offense against the starting Panther defense. The Panthers scored on their next offensive possession, when Crowton hit a streaking McKenzie for a 54-yard touchdown pass and catch. Bear River was again thwarted offensively.
Pine View was stopped on their next series when Braxton “Weasel” Christensen and Justice “Shak” Dworshak combined on a quarterback sack, forcing Pine View to punt. The BR offense was still sluggish and was unable to move the ball.
In the next series, Dworshak was able to sack Crowton, causing a fumble, which he recovered. The Bears were unable to capitalize on Dworshak’s fumble recovery. Pine View immediately took advantage and finished the half by adding two more touchdowns, taking them to a 21-0 halftime lead.
The second half started well for the Bears, with junior halfback Chance Udy finding yards in the running game. The Bears moved the ball to the Panther 20-yard line, where QB Ren Fonnesbeck found junior wide-out Josh Payne in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown. With Porter Tackett’s PAT, the Bears found themselves very much in the game at 21-7.
The solid Bear defense was unable to contain the Panthers and Pine View came right back with another touchdown. When the third quarter ended, the Bears were down three touchdowns.
In the fourth quarter, the Bear defense was starting to tire. Pine View tacked on two more touchdowns before the Bears pulled their starters. Pine View kept their starters in, and added on a final touchdown with 39 seconds left. The final touchdown pushed the score to 49-7, in a closer-than-the-scoreboard showed game.
With the loss, Bear River finished their 2019 season with a 5-7 record. The Bears had many highlights in the season, but were hit hard with injuries. The Bears will bring back many quality players, and should build on the success of the 2019 season.