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Bears seek first win of 2019 against Cardinals

It’s homecoming week at Big Bear High School. The Bears hope to turn things around in front of what’s expected to be a big crowd at Minder Field Saturday, Sept. 14.

Big Bear hosts San Bernardino (0-3), a big school with a new coach and a new offense. Big Bear head coach Dave Griffiths said the Cardinals are big and have some speed.

“They play an offense similar to ours, and these days that’s unusual,” Griffiths said. After three weeks of seeing spread offenses, it will be good to see how the Bears’ defense stands against a running team.

The Bears enter the San Bernardino game with a 0-3 record after a 49-14 loss at Laguna Beach on Sept. 6. Early miscues put the Bears’ behind in the first half.

“We gave away four touchdowns early on, and you just can’t do that against a very good football team,” Griffiths said. “We settled down about midway through the second quarter, and from then on we played a good game.”

The Breakers scored on the second play of the game on a deep pass play. A muffed Big Bear punt return set up another Laguna Beach touchdown. A blocked punt resulted in a third Breakers’ TD, Griffiths said.

“The good news is we didn’t go away,” Griffiths said. “We kept battling and did some good things.”

The Big Bear offense, under the guidance of sophomore quarterback Sammy Volpicelli, is starting to click. The defense regrouped and showed improvement, Griffiths said.

Homecoming week can be a distraction, but Griffiths said the coaches will work on keeping the team focused on practice and the game.

Injuries have been a problem for the Bears so far this year, and will continue to affect the roster this week. Sophmore Aiden Barbour moved to varsity for the Laguna Beach game, and will remain on varsity for the San Bernardino game, Griffiths said. “He did some good things for us offensively and defensively,” the Big Bear coach said. “We’re hoping to get Liam Early back soon, but not sure about anybody else right now.”

Senior slotback Paul Domingue continues to be Big Bear’s main offensive threat, scoring the Bears’ two touchdowns against Laguna Beach. That gives Domingue four touchdowns in the last two games.

San Bernardino struggled in its first three games on both sides of the ball. The Cardinals have given up 120 points in three games while scoring 20. San Bernardino’s offense has also fumbled 13 times, but has lost only three of those possessions.

Junior running back Gabriel Zarate leads the Cardinals with two touchdowns on 47 yards rushing and 57 yards receiving in three games.

Griffiths said these first three weeks have been a learning process for the Bears. “We found out a little more

about ourselves (at Laguna Beach),” Griffiths said. “We saw some positive things.”

The Big Bear frosh-soph team lost its first game of the season Sept. 6, falling to Laguna Beach 20-14.

Kick-off for the Big Bear-San Bernardino homecoming game is at 1:30 p.m. at Minder Field. The frosh-soph teams play at Minder Field at 10:45 a.m. on Sept. 14.