EL DORADO — Ponderosa and Union Mine met up Friday with the Bruins looking to remain undefeated in nonleague play and the host Diamondbacks wanting to break into the the win column.
Union Mine pressed Ponderosa for most of the first half. After Kevin Ackernecht’s 90-yard kickoff return to open the second half ignited the Bruins, Ponderosa found momentum in its running game to come away 30-13 winners.
Over the course of the first half, Union Mine played with energy and passion in taking a 6-0 lead midway through the first quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run by Tyler Parker. The advantage was short-lived as Ponderosa answered late in the second quarter when Tyce Providence, three touchdowns on the night, found the end zone on a 3-yard rushing score. With the extra point by Curtis Goldsmith Ponderosa took a 7-6 advantage that the Bruins never relinquished.
“We need to improve our tackling, blocking and be more physical than we were tonight in order to compete in our league,” Ponderosa coach Jason Tenner said. “Our team is 4-0 however at times we play young and need to play better fundamental football. There are areas we need to clean up and this week we need to understand that as a team everyone needs to play with heart.”
The D’backs kept the game close as Union Mine relied heavily on the running of Austin Rigsby, who had 119 yards on the ground for the evening. The D’back defense was also solid and gave the Bruins all they could handle. But Ackernecht’s return changed everything to start the second half.
“We were in this game and the team played hard the entire night. The things that hurt us were the turnovers and the return to start the second half,” Union Mine coach Dave Johnson said. “The team ran the ball well and we played Ponderosa well. The challenge is when our team has to play both ways and starts to get tired. Those are things that started to show later in the game. Overall we had players step up tonight and we actually moved the ball pretty well. We are a young team and we will continue to get better and tonight we gave Ponderosa a challenge.”
The Bruins extended their lead midway through the third quarter on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Colby Chiverton to Tyce Providence, making it 21-6. The two teams exchanged touchdowns in the fourth quarter as Providence scored his third on a 4-yard run before Goldsmith added a 27-yard field goal.
The D’backs put together an impressive drive that ended with a 2-yard scoring run by Matt Cathey. The extra point by Estaban Gonzales finished the scoring for the night.