CADDO – It’s a whole new ballgame for the Bruins after a 30-14 season-opening loss to Canadian on Friday.
As last year’s “perfect season” dims into history, the Bruins got their first taste of 11-man football in over a decade when the Cougars visited on Friday. Penalties, conditioning and Canadian’s red-hot receiver Dakota Mize all combined for the first Caddo loss since Nov. 19, 2010.
“We knew (11-man) would be a hard game to get adjusted to,” said Caddo Coach Jeremy Proctor. “We’re going to have to find ways to get better. We’ve got to go back to work on Monday.”
He told his team to “remember this feeling of loss, and use it as motivation.” He laid part of the blame in the team’s conditioning, as game-time temperatures in the middle 90s didn’t help. Bruin players were continually cramping, especially in the second half.
“We also found out who our role players are, and who can play where,” Proctor said. “The defensive line did a fine job of containing the run. Our skill guys, Wyatt Wright, Corey Savoy and Tanner Grace, all ran the ball well.”
Grace rushed for 95 yards, while Wright racked up more than 100 at receiver. Savoy got 65 yards on one great catch from Triston Paris late in the game, and he also had a 20-plus yard return on the night. Zack McMillin also caught a Paris pass good for 20 yards.
Caddo raced out to an 8-0 lead early in the game on Paris’s 20-yard pass to Wright. Grace ran in the two-point conversion to finish the scoring play. But the Cougars got all the points back on a nine-play drive to tie the game late in the first.
Paris and Wright connected again on the next drive, scoring on a 44-yard pass and run from the second play from scrimmage. This time the conversion failed and Caddo had a 14-8 lead. Josh Ringle intercepted a Canadian pass on the next drive, but the offense could not convert it into a score despite a pair of first downs.
An early second quarter fumble was the first of three turnovers for the Bruins. Canadian’s Caleb Jarrett and Mize started to connect, racking up four first downs on a clock-eating drive which ended in a five yard rushing score. The Cougar conversion was good to give them a 16-14 lead at the half.
Fate caught up with the Bruins in the second half, as Canadian’s potent pair hooked up for a 65-yard touchdown. The short pass was deflected by McMillin but caught by Mize, and with McMillin out of the way, Mize was off to the end zone. Canadian led 24-14 at the 11:15 mark of the third.
The Cougars took the 30-14 lead at 2:35 after a long drive which saw more deep catches for Mize. After the final score, Grace made a side-winding 70-yard return to set up a Caddo rally, but the red zone passing fell short and the Bruins gave up the ball on downs four plays later.
The teams burned up most of the fourth quarter before Paris connected to Savoy for a 65 yard gain. Caddo got to the seven yard line before the Cougars recovered an untimely fumble and sealed up the win.
On defense, Virgle Mincher, Zach McKimmy and Juan Chavez all had seven tackles apiece among a very balanced defensive score sheet which saw 17 different Bruins make stops.
Caddo (0-1) will travel to 2A Wilson (0-1) for another non-district contest this Friday. Wilson dropped a 46-0 decision to Marietta in their season opener.