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Summerville Bears put Grizzlies into hibernation


Summerville's Mccormick Banks makes a tackle during the Bears' win over Mariposa County Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. Photo by Maggie Beck/Union Democrat

The Summerville High School Bears put the Mariposa County High School Grizzlies into hibernation with a 28-12 win at home during their second game of the season Thursday night.

Coach Sean Leveroos said that he was proud of the team’s defensive effort to minimize the Grizzlies’ offensive momentum.

“They played well for the most part keeping the guys in front of them,” he said.

Moving forward, he said, the team needed to “finish inside of the 20 better than we did.”

Leading into the opening kickoff, the crowd was animated, the band and cheerleaders took to their positions, and the music blared. The Bears’ enthusiasm had clearly not diminished since their first blowout game a week earlier, and the crowd was rabid for yet another win.

Mariposa County came out to stretch the field early following a short Summerville kickoff, utilizing their throwing game to gain yardage on the first possession.

But soon Summerville’s gritty defense gained control with powerful tackles from senior Luke Fulkerson and a third down sack with an additional holding penalty against the Grizzlies.

A few big runs from senior running back Dominic Esquivel and a facemask penalty on Fulkerson following a charging, more than 15 yard run, put Summerville within scoring distance.

A little more than halfway into the first quarter, the Bears had put their first points on the board. A two point conversion failed, leaving the score at 6-0.

For much of the game, Mariposa County’s and Summerville’s many penalty flags were indicative of some disciplinary shortcomings. Over the course of the game, they both racked up more than 15 fouls, and lost countless more yards in the process.

Forcing the ball down the field, a few yards here, a few yards there, the Bears eventually tallied another touchdown from Fulkerson.

The extra-point snap was bobbled by the placeholder, and the Bears took only 6 points on the play for the second time.

But with about eight minutes remaining in the quarter, they still held a 12-0 lead.

Mariposa pushed down the field yet again, but were stopped on fourth down by the Bears. On the first possession following the fourth down turnover, Esquivel ran over 75 yards downfield and gained another 6 points for Summerville.

This time the extra point was good.

Five minutes remained in the first half and the score stood at 19-0.

But the Grizzlies would not be put down quite yet.

Following another set of long pass plays and a fourth down penalty against Summerville, they scored the first touchdown of the season against the Bears. The point after attempt was blocked and brought the score to 19-6.

But Summerville, intent on having the last word, had a little surprise nestled in their den.

Esquivel, catching a short kickoff near the 20 yard line, ran the ball down for another touchdown.

It was not the best night for extra point attempts though, with the Bears gaining only 6 points again. At the end of the half, the score was 25-6.

Both teams administered a staunch defensive effort in the third quarter, with neither team scoring points.

But a long quarterback sneak set up the Grizzlies at the one yard line at the start of the fourth quarter, and they closed out another touchdown on the first play.

A two point conversion attempt failed, bringing the score to 25-12.

An onside kick was recovered at the 50 yard line by the Bears in the first possession of the quarter, and later, junior Justin Roberts recovered a fumble, stopping another push by the Grizzlies.

With about 3 minutes remaining, senior Kyle McCarver drained a 30 yard field goal to bring the score to 28-12, out of reach for the Grizzlies until the final whistle.

Leveroos said that for the next month, the Bears would be on the road.

“It won't be the first time traveling and what we like as well is we will be playing on Friday nights, here on out,” he said.

The Summerville Bears play against the Ripon Christian High School Knights on Friday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.

Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or gricapito@uniondemocrat.com . Follow him on Twitter @gsepinsonora.