Prep Football: Combs stuns Bears 28-17, keeps them winless at 0-3

Bradshaw Mountain's David Mata (26) runs through defenders as they take on Combs Friday, September 8, 2017 in Prescott Valley. (Les Stukenberg/Courier).

Photo by Les Stukenberg.

Bradshaw Mountain's David Mata (26) runs through defenders as they take on Combs Friday, September 8, 2017 in Prescott Valley. (Les Stukenberg/Courier).

Bradshaw Mountain’s football team could not get off the schneid in Week 3 Friday night, as turnovers and missed opportunities haunted the Bears in a 28-17 setback to Combs at Bob Pavlich Field in Prescott Valley.

With the loss, the Grand Canyon region Bears remained winless at 0-3, while Combs of the Black Canyon region improved to 1-2.

In its first two games, Combs of San Tan Valley was outscored 96-17 against Casa Grande and Prescott. Bradshaw Mountain had been outscored 81-39 versus Cactus and Estrella Foothills.

So, something had to give — and it did. The Bears dearly missed starting senior quarterback Timmy Young, who missed the game with a quadriceps injury in his left leg suffered Sept. 1 at Estrella Foothills. Inexperienced junior Austin Gonzalez, who finished the second half at Estrella, got the start and is going through growing pains.

“The quarterback position’s not just something you hop into and be good at,” first-year Bears coach Chuck Moller said. “It’s something you have to play yourself into and work at, and we just have to continue to build.”

Bradshaw Mountain led the Coyotes for the entire first half and most of the third quarter, clinging to a 17-14 lead until the last 37 seconds of the third.

Combs pieced together a 10-play drive, from 5:11 to 37.4 seconds left, when fullback Isiah Jacobs capped it off with a 4-yard TD run. That represented the Coyotes’ first lead of the game at 21-17. The turning point came, however, when Combs’ defense forced Bears tailback David Mata to fumble on Bradshaw’s ensuing possession. At Combs’ 45-yard line, the Coyotes’ Roy Anderson scooped up the loose ball and raced 55 yards for a TD with 1.4 seconds to go.

“We could’ve done things better, you know? Covering gaps, making blocks, just stuff like that,” said Mata, who scored two rushing TDs. “It’s things we didn’t do that cost us the game. Sometimes we’re not mentally focused at practice. We’re doing things right physically, but a lot of this stuff is mental. We need to step it up.”

Anderson’s score put an exclamation point on 21 unanswered points for Combs. The Coyotes then ate the clock in the fourth quarter.

“We had a lot of missed assignments — we weren’t doing our job offensively or defensively,” Bears senior wideout/defensive back Devon Olson said. “We’ve just got to get our stuff together for next week and come back strong.”

Bradshaw Mountain had a golden opportunity to cut into Combs’ 11-point cushion when Jared Wasielewski recovered a fumble deep in Combs territory at the 16-yard line with 9:30 left. But on a 4th and goal from the 2, Combs’ defense held.

“We put ourselves in a lot of bad positions first, and so it was a change in mentality for us [in the second half],” Combs coach Travis Miller said. “Red zone stops was a big deal, and capitalizing on some of their miscues and their fumbles is obviously the turning point in the game.”

RING OF HONOR

Before Friday’s game, Bradshaw Mountain’s athletic department inducted former boys’ basketball coach Doug Beilfuss and former baseball coach Randy Clifford into the school’s Ring of Honor.

Beilfuss coached the varsity basketball team at Bradshaw Mountain for 14 years, registering an all-time record of 200-196. His 200 victories are the most by a coach in the Bears’ program’s history.

Clifford coached at Bradshaw Mountain from 1998-2015, including 15 seasons as varsity coach. He compiled a career record of 253-165, qualifying the Bears for the state playoffs 10 times. Twenty-eight of Clifford’s players moved on to play college baseball, including two who were drafted by major league teams.

UP NEXT

Bradshaw Mountain travels to Marcos de Niza Sept. 15. Combs visits Seton Catholic Prep in Chandler.

Follow Doug Cook on Twitter @dougout_dc. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2039, or via email at dcook@prescottaz.com.