The offensive line dominated in the trenches, opening big holes for the Bear rushers. As a team, Summerville gained for a season-high 341 yards on the ground and five touchdowns.
“We had a good matchup that we kind of exploited a little bit,” Bears offensive line coach Jeremy Hurtado said. “Our kids played great as far as our offensive line goes. There were a couple of miscues, but overall, I thought we had a pretty good game.”
The Bears broke 15 runs of 10 yards or more and Brick, alone, had six, including a 25 and 32-yard scamper behind the aggressive blocking of senior left tackle Ross Whalen.
“He does a good job,” Bears head coach Ben Watson said of Whalen. “He’s a senior and he played on the line a lot last year. So, we feel comfortable we can run off of him on the weakside.”
The massive 341-yard rushing effort is 155 yards more than what the Bears ran for in the two previous games combined. With game experience and a better grasp of the offense, the Bears are starting to improve.
“I think we played better as a team,” Hurtado said. “As far as our offensive line goes, we’re getting together and jelling as a team. It’s showing — there’s less mental mistakes. Offensively, we’re doing a good job of coming together and solidifying.”
Whalen, a co-captain, said the offensive line performed better on Friday because there was more talking going on before, during and after the play.
“We had a lot of communication on the line today,” he said. “I think that helped. We haven’t had as much as we have up until today. Everybody knew what they were doing — that was because of the communication.”
Quarterback Bryce Farrell, who completed 9 of 20 passes for 144 yards in the game, opened the high-scoring affair with a 14-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Cashman in the first quarter to give the Bears a 6-0 lead.
The Coyotes responded immediately with a two-play, 59-yard drive to tie the game at 6-6, after a failed extra point, with 2:38 remaining in the first quarter.
But that’s as close as Denair would get.
Brick would score two touchdowns on consecutive drives using an elusive and powerful running style to cushion its 20-6 lead after a Farrell extra point.
Farrell, who showed good poise in the pocket, scrambled for a 23-yard touchdown after receiving outstanding downfield blocking by his wideouts. Farrell’s run put the Bears up 26-6.
Denair answered right back on the ensuing possession with a long 74-yard run by Howze. Summerville denied the Coyotes’ two-point conversion to make it 26-12.
Then came the ascension of slotback Humphrey Quirie, who had been slicing and dicing the Denair defense all game. On Quirie’s first three carries, he sped his way to 11, 19, and 11-yard gains. He found paydirt with a 3-yard touchdown plunge late in the second quarter to give the Bears a 33-12 lead at halftime.
“Nathaniel Ulvevadet made a really big hole for me, which was perfect,” said Quirie, who plowed for a career-best 71 yards on seven carries. “I just ran it in.”
Up by 21 points in the second half, the Bears chewed up most of the clock with backup running back Kyle Hanna. Hanna toted the ball six times for 23 yards and a touchdown. Hanna’s third-quarter score gave the Bears its largest lead of the game, 40-12.
“You really feel good about it because I know he’s excited and it’s something he’s going to remember for a long time,” Watson said of the Bears’ final touchdown. “It’s always nice to get those guys into the game to give them the opportunity to see a little bit of glory in a homecoming game.”
With the Bears scoring at will, the defense held strong and allowed just two first downs and posted a shutout in the second half.
Defensive back Andrew Brennan recorded Summerville’s only turnover with an interception and the Bears limited Denair’s offensive attack to 170 total yards on just 32 plays.
The Bears’ stout defense forced five punts and four three and outs. After surrendering almost 300 passing yards last week to Bradshaw Christian, the secondary rebounded and allowed just three completions for 20 yards.
“I thought our defensive backs improved,” Watson said. “So I feel a little bit better about that. We have a long ways to go, but I really feel good about the fact that they did a good job for the most part tonight.