Rough ride for Bears as Saginaw wins 16-13

Bears vs Rough Riders
Bears vs Rough Riders

by A.C. Hall

Coming into their final game of the year on Friday night the Bears had one thing to look forward to.  Sure, they were eliminated from playoff contention a week before, and sure, they were on a four game losing streak.  But the final game of the season was a prime chance to end the year with a bang, as the struggling Saginaw Rough Riders were their opponent.  Saginaw had managed just a single win all year, that coming against the district’s other bottom team.  A resounding victory over Saginaw wouldn’t magically erase the disappointments of the 2014 Brewer season, but it would send the players off on a high note and give them some confidence heading into the off season.

It became clear early on that the easy win most were expecting Brewer to gain over Saginaw wasn’t going to happen.  Instead of a blowout victory, it appeared that the Bears were going to have to grind out a low scoring win.  The game went into halftime tied 10 to 10.  Both teams had moved the ball well at times, but turnovers had ended several promising drives.

Neither team was able to do much in the second half.  No points were scored in the third quarter, but the Bears took a 3 point lead in the fourth with a field goal.  Saginaw responded with another promising drive, but once again turned the ball over.  With just five minutes left in the game, Brewer had the ball and began running down the clock.

With a little over two minutes left, the Bears were facing a fourth down on their own 42 yard line.  After holding the struggling Saginaw offense scoreless in the second half, most expected the Bears to punt the ball and rely on their defense to close out the game and keep their 3 point lead intact.

Instead, Brewer fans were left with a baffling coaching decision to close out the season, as the Bears chose to attempt a fake punt pass play.  The play failed, giving Saginaw the ball in Brewer territory.  It took them only a minute to score a touchdown and take the late 16 – 13 lead.

With a little over a minute left, the Bears got the ball one last time.  Any hope of a heroic scoring drive vanished after a quick interception put an end to the comeback and an end to the Brewer season.

The loss was Brewer’s fifth in a row.  It brought their district record to 2 and 5 and their season record to 4 and 6.  This is a one game overall improvement from last year when the team finished 3 and 7, but represents a two game improvement in district play over last season’s 0 and 7 district record.

The year ends with a lot of almosts, something Bears fans are all too familiar with.  A last second loss to Wichita Falls Rider, a close game against Azle, and a close game against Saginaw all add up to a 2014 season of almosts.  The improvement in the district record is something that should give Brewer fans optimism, however, and hopefully that improvement will continue in 2015.