BRIGHAM CITY — There's nothing overwhelming about Box Elder's offense; it just wants to methodically wear teams down with its ground game over four quarters.
Bear River held its own against the physical Bees throughout most of the first half Friday night, but it eventually began to wear down in the second half and Box Elder capitalized by pulling away for a 23-6 victory in the battle for the Golden Spike.
"It means a lot to get the Spike back in town," said Box Elder quarterback Britton Gunter. "One of our mottos is finishing, and that's what we've been emphasizing."
A week after outscoring Clearfield by 24 points in the second half for the victory, Box Elder pulled away from Bear River in the second half too — but this time it did so defensively. The Bears couldn't sustain anything offensively, finishing with just 175 yards offense, 68 of which came on its only touchdown of the game late in the fourth quarter.
By that point, Box Elder had already built a 23-0 lead and Wade Miller's 68-yard touchdown pass to Hazen Wood with 5:07 remaining in the game was of little consequence.
"Sometimes belief is as important as reality, and we believe in what we're doing and they play hard," said Box Elder coach Robbie Gunter, whose team improved to 3-0 with the victory.
Box Elder's offense wasn't nearly as dominant as in the previous two weeks, but it still rushed for 246 yards against the Bears. Britton Gunter accounted for 102 of those yards on 13 carries.
It took a while for the Bees to get going though, as they didn't score their first touchdown until 2:01 remaining in the first half as Britton Gunter scored on a 17-yard run. They converted a two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
"We couldn't find weaknesses, we tried all kinds of stuff and we were using all kinds of guys. They just kept playing hard," said Gunter about Bear River's defensive pressure.
Box Elder's Martin Alcantar intercepted a pass on Bear River's next possession — one of three Bears turnovers — and even though it didn't capitalize before halftime with more points, it never relinquished the momentum.1 comment on this story
The Bees eventually increased their lead to 15-0 late in the third quarter on a 5-yard touchdown run from Kasen Flinders. After another quick defensive stand, they tacked on eight more points courtesy of a Tyler Andersen 3-yard TD burst and another two-point conversion.
"I think our guys just finally got going and wore them down a little bit. We just kept hitting it where we wanted to and kept playing hard. I love how our offensive and defensive line played," said Gunter.
Box Elder faces its toughest test to date Friday when it hosts 3-0 Syracuse. Bear River (1-2) dives into region play against Stansbury.