BANDON — With a full Cranberry Bowl crowd in attendance, it was the visitors from Brookings-Harbor spoiling the evening as the Bruins defeated Bandon 28-14 last Friday night.
The game featured a combined eight turnovers to go with 184 yards of penalties as each team tried to get in some sort of rhythm in the first half.
The Tigers struggled early after a 1-yard punt on the opening drive was immediately followed by a Brookings-Harbor 13-yard touchdown run from Manny Zamora — one of his two touchdowns on the day — on the Bruins’ first play from scrimmage. Brookings-Harbor continued to threaten but were shut down and a second quarter rushing touchdown from Bandon’s Brynn Green capped off a drive to tie the game before the teams went to halftime.
“We played okay, it was good to battle back and come in 7-7 at halftime, at least we’re in the game,” said Bandon head coach Aaron Freitag. “They showed a lot of heart to battle like that in the first half. And then to come out in the second half and keep fighting. You know, there are good things there but there is still a lot of stuff we need to clean up.”
Bandon finished the game with 60 yards passing, 34 yards rushing, 72 yards in penalties and five turnovers.
The close-nature of the game quickly turned in the third quarter as the Bruins put together three touchdowns. Brookings-Harbor’s scores came off a fourth-and-goal conversion on the first possession of the half; a blocked Bandon punt that led to a rushing score from the 1-yard line; and Zamora capping off a drive, and successful game, with a 9-yard rush into the end zone.
“We just had to regroup, is what it was,” said Zamora about the team’s changes heading into the second half. “Our mindset changed. I feel like we focused in on what we had to do.”
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Brookings-Harbor used three quarterbacks on the night that went a combined 13-of-31 for 153 passing yards along with 127 rushing yards as a team. The Bruins racked up 112 yards of penalties.
The fourth quarter saw both teams combine for three turnovers and three punts before a 54-yard touchdown run from Bandon’s Cooper Lang to cut the deficit to 14.
“It’s a bummer that we lost, but they’re a good team. They’re going to go pretty far, I think,” said Bandon’s Wyatt Dyer. “I think we did fairly well as a good team.”
Dyer, in the role of quarterback, finished with four completions, 60 yards through the air and three interceptions. Since the team’s jamboree, Dyer has been filling in as quarterback for the injured Braydon Freitag, who will most likely make his season debut next Friday.
“Well, to be honest I don’t really like it. It’s a different experience, I’ve never played it in a game. But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do sometimes. And sometimes you’ve just got to deal with it,” said Dyer, who will be back in his desired position of running back next week. “But hey, we did fairly good, actually. And next week we’ll have our starting quarterback back which will be awesome.”
Bandon’s pursuit of a win will take the team to Oakland on Friday to face the 1-1 Oakers. Last week Oakland beat Reedsport 66-16. The road to success next week, and down the road, is clear for head coach Freitag.
“We just got to stick together and keep grinding and get better. We’ve got to practice harder and get more game-ready through the week and battle more and be more competitive in practice,” he said. “The message to the team is just stick together. Keep battling. This isn’t the first time we’ve been in this situation, we can come back.”