Bear River Advances After Firework Filled Win Over Spanish Fork

Oct 20, 2023, 8:29 PM


Springville vs. Spanish Fork football (Credit: Mariluz Cook /

(Credit: Mariluz Cook /

SPANISH FORK, Utah – The Bear River Bears head home happy after a 47-33 road win over Spanish Fork in the first round of the UHSAA 4A playoffs.

Bear River (4-7) traveled down south to face Spanish Fork (3-7) in the first round of the 4A Utah High School tournament.

First Half

Stone Higley got the scoring started for the Bears, connecting on a 30-yard field goal with 8:35 left in the first quarter.

Later in the period, Spanish Fork evened the score at three with a 45-yard field goal from Shaiyne Olsen.

The game’s first turnover came when Spanish Fork safety Brock Jacobson dropped into coverage and picked off an Owen Olsen deep ball with five seconds left in the opening period. The Dons finished the ensuing drive with a touchdown when running back Kaden Vest burrowed through the defense for a short touchdown. Ethan Beckstead provided the big play, breaking several tackles on a long reception to put the Dons in Bear River territory.

After the extra point, Spanish Fork held a 10-3 lead.

Bear River answered with a long touchdown drive to end the half. Tydon Jones took a handoff and barreled into the end zone for a one-yard scoring run. The Bears added the extra point for a 10-10 halftime score.

Second Half

Nixon Warren made a 25-yard reception to put the Dons in scoring position on their first drive of the third quarter. SF took a 13-10 lead with a 39-yard Benji Vargas field goal.

The Bears used a long run from quarterback Owen Olsen to get in Don territory. Moments later, Olsen hit Talon Marble for a long touchdown pass, giving Bear River a 17-13 lead.

After forcing a turnover, Bear River marched down the field for their second touchdown of the half. It was Olsen hitting Marble for their second TD of the evening. With a two-point conversion, the Bears took a 25-13 advantage with 7:18 left in the third quarter.

A long return on the kickoff put Spanish Fork in a position to respond. An up-tempo Dons offense leaned on Vest for his second score of the night. SF trailed 25-20 after adding the extra point.

Bear River wasn’t done scoring in the period. The Bears immediately danced town the field with Olsen finding Jace Roberts for a touchdown on fourth down. The TD made it 32-20 Bears late in the third.

The Dons needed less than a minute for McKay Smith to find a streaking Nixon Warren for a 61-yard touchdown pass to make it 32-27.

Bear River forced an interception on the Dons next drive to get the first defensive stop of the second half for either team. Olsen helped the Bears seize momentum with a rushing touchdown off of play action that made it 40-27 after the two-point conversion.

Gunner Christensen forced another Dons turnover when he picked off another pass. It was the fourth interception of the game for Bear River. Marble’s third touchdown and first rushing score put the game out of reach, 47-27, with 2:30 left to play.

Dons QB Spencer Tupou led a scoring drive to end the game. Tupou hit Tyson Mansfield in stride for a touchdown in the final seconds to make the final score 47-33 Bear River.

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Bear River Advances After Firework Filled Win Over Spanish Fork