If there was ever a time the Summerville Bears could have given up, it wasFridaynight at Thorsted Field.
Down by 30 points to the Calaveras Redskins late in the third quarter, the Bears did not cave.
"We don't let anybody get down," said Bears co-captain Ross Whalen. "Anytime there's negativity on the team, we turn the page."
That type of mentality pulled through and Summerville scored three straight touchdowns the rest of the way, but lost 44-28 as Calaveras clinched a share of the Mother Lode League championship.
"The kids are great kids, and they're going to keep playing," said Summerville head coach Ben Watson. "That shows a lot of heart and a lot of determination. That's what all these kids are about. They are great kids - great to coach, great to be around. You know they're going to play hard whether we're ahead or behind. That's why I'm so proud of these guys."
Summerville clawed to an early lead in the opening quarter. Quarterback Bryce Farrell connected with receiver Jake Fulkerson for a 5-yard touchdown pass to take a 7-0 lead after Farrell's successful extra point.
But after that impressive 5-play, 69-yard drive, Summerville could not convert its drives into points. The Bears came up empty on three consecutive drives and entered halftime behind 16-7.
With the offense stalling, Watson dialed up a tricky formation to jumpstart and provide a spark for the Bears in the third quarter.
Wideout Andrew Brennan, an eligible receiver, played center with Farrell in the shotgun near the right hash mark. Receivers J.T. McCready and Fulkerson, and fullback Brendan Brick were lined out wide near the right sideline. Tight end Jordan Cashman lined up at the far left hash alongside the five offensive linemen (Ashtin Dalby, Daniel Kristofic, Tyler Stoy, Andrew Ortega and Whalen).
That formation quickly gained 31 yards as Summerville marched deep into Calaveras territory, forcing the Redskins to burn a timeout.
"It makes the game so exciting," Farrell said. "We're going with this base offense, passing, running, and all of a sudden, we throw this at them. It fools them. We got a lot of yards. It makes playing just extremely fun. It's almost like you're playing a flag football game. We knew it would throw them off guard like it will to any team."
But again Summerville came up short as Calaveras caused a turnover.
However, that non-traditional formation re-energized the Bears, and on their next possession, they drove 80 yards for a TD on just three plays.
Brick caught a screen pass, planted his foot, juked a Redskin defender and scampered 65 yards for a score.
The Bears defense forced Calaveras to turn the ball over on downs on the ensuing possession.
Then the Summerville offense effectively went to work. Farrell completed two passes for 42 yards and Humphrey Quirie jetted 15 yards for a TD to make 37-21.
But Calaveras' Mike Seawell and the Redskins were too much. Seawell took the fly sweep and glided 50 yards for his fourth score of the night to seal the game.
But not to be outdone, Brick carried the ball three straight times for 50 yards. From the Redskin 25, Farrell hit McCready in the end zone for a TD.
Farrell threw for a career-high 307 yards and three TDs on 16 of 25 passing.
Despite the late surge, the four turnovers created by Calaveras were too much to overcome for Summerville.
"We played as hard in this game as we played all year," Watson said. "In terms of our intensity and effort, that was great. Too many miscues and turnovers ended up hurting us. You have to play almost a perfect game against Calaveras to come out on top."