The Bertha-Hewitt Bears hosted a battle of 1-1 teams when the Verndale Pirates came to town on a wet and humid Friday night.
The Pirates' Mack Jones ran for two touchdowns to help lead the visitors to a 30-8 victory over the Bears.
The first half was played virtually even as both teams struggled to maintain drives and hold onto the wet football. Following a scoreless first quarter, Verndale found the scoreboard on a 56-yard run by Mitch Blaha and a two-point conversion run by Jones.
Bertha-Hewitt looked to even the score just before halftime. The Bears drove within the Pirates' 10 yard line, but the Verndale defense stiffened and the halftime score remained 8-0.
"We had a couple of opportunities in the first half to find the end zone. We just couldn’t get over that threshold," stated Bears' coach Rick Harig. "It was a big momentum swing when they held us out of the end zone just before halftime."
The second half was all Verndale. The Pirates' offense seemed to wear down the Bears' defense and the Bertha-Hewitt offense never found much success.
The Pirates added two touchdowns in the third quarter on a 10-yard run by Luke Weniger and a one-yard plunge by Jones. Jones also added another successful two-point run following Weniger's touchdown to stretch the lead to 22-0 at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter scoring was even as the Pirates scored on another Jones touchdown run from 31 yards out and a two-point conversion by Mac Schluttner, while the Bears scored on a touchdown run and two- point conversion by Ethan Kimber.
When it was all settled the Pirates went home with a 30-8 victory. Verndale rushed for 298 yards and gained 68 yards passing for 366 yard of total offense. Bertha-Hewitt had a total of 172 yards, getting 144 on the ground and 28 through the air.
"Their line on both sides of the ball was far more physical than we were and in football that is almost impossible to overcome," Harig explained. "We will have to fix this problem if we want to compete with the upper half teams in our section."
The Bears' offense was led by Kimber’s 72 yards rushing, followed by Raphael Ortiz’s 46 yards. Zach Mousseau was 3-of-6 passing, completing all three passes to Jordan Frethem, who had 27 yards receiving and added 40 yards rushing.
Defensively, the Bears were led by Zack Waln with 9.5 tackles. Ortiz made 8 tackles, Kimber added 6.5 tackles and Mousseau had 5.5 tackles.
For the Pirates, Blaha finished with 154 yards on 19 carries. He also caught three passes for 40 yards. Jones ran 10 times for 56 yards and Ethan Orlando had 12 rushes for 48 yards. Weniger completed 5 of 6 passes for 68 yards.
Defensive stats for the Pirates were not immediately available.