Strong first half not enough for Bears

Vongni Yang, The Union Democrat /

HUGHSON - For one half, the Summerville Bears shredded the stubborn Hughson Huskies defense.

Bear quarterback Bryce Farrell accounted for all three touchdowns, the most the Huskies have allowed all season, as Summerville kept pace with an explosive Hughson rushing attack to head into halftime down by one, 21-20.

But the Bears offense couldn't keep up in the third and fourth quarters, and were beaten 49-20 by Hughson at Huskies Memorial Stadium.

"We played back and forth there for a half," Bears head coach Ben Watson said. "But we got worn down in the second half, and the offense just didn't execute. We had a lot of mistakes ... and collapsed offensively in the second half."

On Summerville's opening possession, Farrell marched the Bears to the end zone using pinpoint passes and running back Brendan Brick provided productive gains to draw first blood.

Farrell capped that seven-play, 39-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown on a naked bootleg run. After he added the extra point, the Bears led 7-0, and for the first time in four games, the Huskies trailed.

"It was good to get out early and score on the first drive," Watson said. "That's always nice. Bryce made a couple of good reads and it was a good play."

Summerville inside linebacker Nathaniel Ulvevadet jumped on a botched handoff during Hughson's first offensive play from scrimmage, and just like that, the Bears got the ball back.

But Summerville couldn't capitalize on the timely fumble and turned the ball over on downs.

And then Hughson's offense came to life.

Two big passes by Huskies quarterback Devondre Stendardo set up their first touchdown of the night. Stendardo connected with receiver Tyler May for a 30-yard scoring strike to tie the game at 7-7 after the extra point.

With a long 47-yard kick return by Bear Humphrey Quirie, Farrell and the offense were in prime position at the Huskies 35-yard line and responded.

Brick carried the ball for a three-yard gain on first down and then Farrell continued his hot streak, hitting tight end Jordan Cashman for a 10-yard gain to move the chains.

After Farrell's first incompletion of the game, he threw a perfect pass to receiver J.T. McCready, who caught the ball in stride for a 22-yard touchdown to retake the lead, 14-7.

"He played well in the first half," Watson said of Farrell. "Most of our receivers did and we were giving him some protection."

Hughson answered on the next possession when running back Kyle Kerlee scampered for a 34-yard score to even it up at 14-14.

After a Bear punt on the ensuing drive, the Huskies took the lead for good. Star running back Tanner Duron burst through the middle on a dive for a 47-yard touchdown sprint to grab a 21-14 lead.

"He moves, he goes, not only does he have good vertical speed, but you saw how well he runs," Watson said of Duron. "He's shifty, he can start a run up the middle, and kick it to the outside and be able to outrun the corner."

Down by seven, Summerville didn't give up with Hughson driving to score. Brick, playing at safety, intercepted a Stendardo pass at the Bears 4 and returned it all the way to the Huskies 19 to set up another touchdown.

Three plays later, Farrell lasered the football on a rope to Cashman for a 12-yard scoring spree to cut the lead to one, 21-20.

"I had some good catches," Cashman said. "But I have to give credit to the linemen because they blocked and Bryce had good throws over to me."

The Bears offense couldn't sustain that consistent offensive onslaught in the second half and the Huskies pulled away.

Hughson scored 28 unanswered points combined in the third and fourth quarter to seal the team's fourth straight victory.

"We need to be a two-half team, it's just basic," Farrell said. "We played a great first half. We had a lot of energy. … We just need to keep that up. At halftime, it all just ended. We came out flat after halftime. They scored a couple of touchdowns, and once they were ahead by two touchdowns, we were done."

The Union Democrat
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