SHINGLE SPRINGS — The much-hyped Delta River League showdown between Ponderosa and Pleasant Grove never came to fruition as the visiting Eagles buried the Bruins 35-7 Friday. Ponderosa, coming in off its stellar defensive performance against Jesuit last week, couldn’t duplicate that effort.
“We just didn’t execute. We got out-coached, outplayed and out-executed,” Bruin coach Jason Tenner said.
Ponderosa won the toss and elected to defer to the second half, giving Pleasant Grove the ball to open the game. Running back Isaiah Saunders ran roughshod through the Bruin defense, breaking runs of 16, 9, and twice for 8 yards as the Eagles drove down the field. From the Ponderosa 17-yard line the Bruins buckled down to force a turnover on downs.
The Ponderosa offense took over but couldn’t advance past midfield and punted away. Pleasant Grove went three-and-out and punted back but on the first play of the Bruin drive, Colin Serne intercepted Jake Bist and ran it back 9 yards for the first score of the game. The point-after-attempt missed and Pleasant Grove led 6-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Neither team put points on the board until Ennis Mayberry scored on an 11-yard run for the Eagles with 8:46 left in the half. After another Ponderosa drive stalled, Mayberry caught a pass from quarterback Deaundre Terrell and scampered 65 yards untouched for another Pleasant Grove score. The Eagles successfully converted a two-point conversion to lead 20-0 at halftime.
Early in the third, Ponderosa’s Curtis Catron blocked an Eagle punt and later, the Bruins stopped Pleasant Grove on fourth down. Taking over at their own 40, Matt McBride ran twice before Bist evaded the pass rush, broke a tackle,and found his wide open brother Josh who dashed into the end zone for a 57-yard touchdown. After the PAT, Ponderosa trailed 20-7 as action headed to the fourth quarter.
With possession at its 25, Pleasant Grove went to work. After a first down run from Saunders, the Eagles executed a reverse to Esley Simmons who raced down the right sideline for a 27-yard gain. Simmons got the call again and darted for another first down before Saunders ran for a quick 6 yards and bolted for the final 15 and the touchdown. Terrell found Wyatt Demps for the two-point conversion to lift Pleasant Grove’s advantage to 28-7 with 10:31 left in the game.
Demps’ touchdown catch on a 4th-and-goal play later in the quarter closed the scoring.
“I told our kids that if we play football together with all 11 men on the field, we can play with anybody. But when we don’t, that’s when we struggle,” Tenner said.
The Bruins (5-2 overall, 1-1 league) next play at arch-rival Oak Ridge. Pleasant Grove (5-2 overall, 1-1) takes on Jesuit next.