It was a dogfight Green Canyon was on the wrong side of for large stretches of the game, but boy did the Wolves make huge plays on both sides of the ball when they really needed to.
Jake Lundin threw for 303 yard and four touchdowns — the final scoring pass to Caden Stuart with eight seconds remaining in the fourth quarter — and Green Canyon edged Bear River 27-26 in a thrilling Region 11 football contest that featured seven lead changes on Friday night in Garland.
The Wolves (4-3, 2-1) were able to find a way to pull out their third heart-stopping victory of the season, despite giving up 278 rushing yards to standout Bear River running back Kace Jones.
“Well, it’s super gratifying,” GC head coach Craig Anhder said. “That Bear River team is a very, very good team. Their running back, No. 7 (Kace Jones), he played both ways and that kid is amazing, a great athlete. We’ve got a lot of respect for him. But our kids hung in there. They kept playing, they kept their heads up. There were times we really struggled, but overall our kids just kept getting after it and, because of that, they were able to get the win.”
Lundin tossed three of his touchdowns in the second half and was sensational on Green Canyon’s stirring game-winning drive. The senior completed passes to four different teammates and found Stuart on a quick out for a 4-yard scoring pass on third and goal.
“Oh, it was great … and that’s something he has been really working on over the last couple of years since he’s been a quarterback,” Anhder said of Lundin’s composure in crunch time. “And he just came in and controlled the game and executed at a high level, and all of the players did, all the boys did. And that’s what’s impressive is we had some 11 for 11s, where 11 guys were doing their job.”
Porter Cragun “had ice in his veins when he needed to,” Anhder said, and booted the go-ahead extra point. Bear River blocked Cragun’s initial PAT, but the athlete who made the play was offside.
Carter Compton intercepted a last-ditch Hail Mary pass to seal the win for the Wolves.
The Wolves only had 3:16 for Lundin to orchestrate the game-winning drive after the Bears (3-4, 0-3) took the lead on a 5-yard scamper by Chance Udy. Jones powered his way into the end zone on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt.
Bear River might have buried Green Canyon if it wasn’t for the heroics of Jaxon Curtis. The Green Canyon senior got behind the Bear River secondary on three occasions for TD bombs of 40, 69 and 36 yards. Lundin was able to escape pressure on his first two TD tosses to Curtis, and the 36-yarder was a well-executed post pattern.
Curtis also finished with a team-high eight tackles for the visitors. McKade Hellstern and Jacob Regen chipped in with seven tackles apiece.
“Well, he did a great job, and two of those three big plays he had were broken plays that he was able to scramble out of, get down the field and get open, and Jake saw him and got the ball to him,” Anhder said. “On the third one, it was a called play to him where he just beat the guy on a post. … Jaxon Curtis had a big game offensively and defensively, and really was able to add a lot to our team tonight.”
The Wolves and Bears found paydirt on both of their possessions in the fourth quarter.
“Those last two drives our offensive line was absolutely amazing,” Anhder said. “They blocked very well. You know, Bear River was giving us some fits, they were doing some stunts, they’re very good, and we were struggling for a while. But our offensive line really came up clutch there at the end, as well as all of those receivers and players. I’m just so proud of our team.”
Jones had scoring runs of 5 and 2 yards for the Bears, who have lost their three region games by a combined 11 points.
Green Canyon’s defense was able to bend but not break on a handful of occasions Friday. Case in point: Bear River only managed 10 points on its four trips to the red zone in the first half. Additionally, Green Canyon’s Aiden Merrill was able to strip Jones on a 30-plus yard run inside the GC 5-yard line in the second half. It’s fair to say that turnover loomed large.
Curtis led the Wolves with 145 receiving yards, while tight end Kyle Baker finished with a team-best seven catches. Stuart added 52 yards on six receptions, and Lundin accounted for 63 of Green Canyon’s 68 yards on the ground.
WOLVES 27, BEARS 26
Friday at Garland
G. Canyon 0 7 7 13 — 27
Bear River 3 7 0 16 — 26
BR — 36 FG Izzy Verela, 8:18.
GC — Jaxon Curtis 40 pass from Jake Lundin (Porter Cragun kick), 6:09.
BR — Kace Jones 5 run (Verela kick), 1:15.
GC — Curtis 69 pass from Lundin (Cragun kick), 3:31.
BR — Jones 2 run (Jones run), 8:51.
GC — Curtis 36 pass from Lundin (kick failed), 6:00.
BR — Chance Udy 5 run (Jones run), 3:16.
GC — Caden Stuart 4 pass from Lundin (Cragun kick), :8.