The Summerville Bears’ school bus eased into the parking lot beside Dan Barnett Field 25 minutes before kickoff Friday night. There were a few final words onboard before the team made their way onto the field to the sound of “hoorahs” and hands slapping leg pads.
Summerville won the toss and opted to defer until the second half.
Summerville’s defense showed their heft from the first snap, forcing a three and out.
The Bears started their night on the Argonaut 16.
Dominic Esquivel ground out gains on two downs before quarterback Mike Litzler found Luke Fulkerson for a big gain into Argonaut territory.
Litzler then found Jared Brick to convert a fourth down. And Nicholas Veach ran the ball into the endzone. The point after attempt was good and Summerville took the lead 7-0 with 4:54 left in the quarter.
That solid offensive play would help give Summerville the 42-37 win over the Argonaut Mustangs.
Head coach Sean Leveroos gave credit to running back Esquivel.
“We ran Dominic really hard in that fourth quarter. He moved the sticks when we needed to,” he said.
Argonaut had excellent field position to start their next series. Their ground game steadily pushed them into Bears territory. Then Mustang quarterback Wyatt Elmore threw a towering pass to an airborne receiver in the endzone, tying the game at 7-7 with 2:44 left in the first.
On the first play of the Bears’ series, Fulkerson took a hit to the head, resulting in a personal foul penalty against Argonaut. The penalty moved the ball near midfield.
Again Esquivel slogged his way through multiple defenders for a series of short gains before Litzler found Brick on the right sideline for a first down.
A Fulkerson carry and a Fulkerson reception (and a successful point after) moved the score to 14-7 as time expired in the first quarter.
The teams exchanged three and outs before the Bears recovered a fumble at the Argonaut 47.
And Esquivel broke through the middle, dragged a pair of defenders before racing into the endzone for a 21-7 lead with 8:36 left in the half.
Fulkerson intercepted seconds later and the Bears took over on the 40 yard line.
Esquivel found space up the left side of the field and made it to the endzone, but officials whistled him down at the 29.
The Bears fumbled near the endzone, turning the ball over to Argonaut. Two lengthy pass plays later and Argonaut made it a one-score game, 21-14 with 4:20 left in the half.
The Bears didn’t need any snaps to score again as Fulkerson ran back the punt for a touchdown. Bears 28, Argonaut 14 with less than 4 to play in the half.
The Bears stifled the Argonaut momentum, forcing a turnover on downs with 1:21 to play.
Argonaut forced a punt, but Argonaut couldn’t convert on the next series and time expired in the first half.
Argonaut forced a three and out and started their second half play at the 45 yard line.
The Mustangs picked their way down the field and scored with 7:31 left in the third. The point after was good, but Summerville maintained the lead 28-21.
A wobbler was caught by Fulkerson who bobbed his way up to the 40 yard line.
And it would be Fulkerson who would complete the series, catching a dagger down the left sideline for another Bears touchdown.
“Fulkerson does his Fulkerson thing,” Leveroos said.
The point after moved the score to 25-21 with 4:37 left in the third.
Summerville held Argonaut to a 40-yard field goal, and the score was 24-35 with 2:13 left in the third.
Consecutive running plays by Brick, Fulkerson and Esquivel kept the Argonaut defense on their heels as they moved the ball into Mustang territory as the third quarter ended.
A near pick on a Litzler pass set up a fourth and 10 as fourth quarter play began.
The Bears went for it and turned it over on downs.
Argonaut found momentum on the drive, moving the ball into Bears territory. But a holding penalty set up a fourth and 19. A quarterback keeper was a few yards shy of the conversion and the Bears took over at the Argonaut 31 yard line with 9 minutes to play.
Esquivel would score again on a slippery running play, giving the Bears a 42-24 lead with 5:02 left in the game.
The Mustangs moved into their hurry up offense and picked up a few first downs – one after a holding call against the Bears.
With 3 minutes left, Argonaut ran the ball to the Bears’ one-yard line and a touchdown on the next play.
The Bears led 42-30 after a failed 2-point attempt by the Mustangs.
The Mustangs got one more offensive series, and made it count with a last-second touchdown. Their point after was good, moving the score 42-37 as time expired.
During last week’s practice the Bears spent a lot of time working on pass protection.
“It paid off,” Leveroos said. “I don’t think we gave up one sack.”
The Bears’ win moves them to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in league play.
They play at Bret Harte Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.