By ROBERT S. MERRILL
Even though the Indians played considerably better in this year’s opening game than one year ago against Bear River, the result was the same. Preston lost to the Bears 31-8.
Preston opened the game with a 2-0 lead after a safety. They then marched down the field and scored again, but failed with the extra point conversion. That’s when Bear River stepped up with two big plays that proved costly for the Indians.
In the second quarter, the Bears’ Taylor Lund scored on a 75-yard punt return. After that it was all Bear River, who scored another 24 straight points.
The heat, cramps and exhaustion played a significant role in the second half for Preston. It was the Indians’ first game of the season and a number of Preston players play both ways. Preston. Hobbs, an Indian receiver, played well the first half, but cramped-up early in the third quarter and didn’t make a catch from that point on.
A number of other Preston players also suffered cramps and fatigue. The Bears clearly were the fresher team in the second half and took advantage of the situation. Bear River’s slot receivers took a significant toll on the visitors.
The Bear’s two quarterbacks threw for 252 of the team’s 323 total passing yards in the second half.
Preston head coach Nick Hyde said Bear River came out in the second half with some short, quick slants that really hurt his team. “That’s tough to defend against,” he said. “We’re better than we played and you’ll see a different team this Friday.”
Even though Preston didn’t score in the second half, it did move the ball well. Preston ended the game with 356 total yards. Of that, 208 were in the air and 148 came on the ground.
Hyde seemed pleased with sophomore quarterback Austin Smellie’s first varsity start. He completed 14-33 passes with no interceptions. Hyde said Smellie played “awesome” and did a really good job.
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