Big Bear High School’s football team knew it was up against the odds Nov. 8 in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 10 Championships. The young Bears were facing a seasoned Eisenhower team, the defending CIF Division 10 champions, in Rialto.
Big Bear (5-6) fell to sixth-ranked Eisenhower 48-17 in the first round. Six turnovers proved costly for the Bears, with three of those directly leading to touchdowns for the Eagles (7-4).
The key for the Bears was to limit the Eagles‘ offense time on the field and the triple option was built to do that. That strategy worked in the first quarter as the Bears kept Eisenhower scoreless while maintaining possession of the ball for 8 minutes.
Eisenhower finally broke into the end zone early in the second quarter and took a 13-0 lead just before the end of the first half. Big Bear trimmed the lead at halftime to 13-3 on a 32-yard field goal by sophomore Alberto Serrano, but not before losing two-way starter Fernando Vela to injury. Vela went up for a Sammy Volpicelli pass when Vela was targeted by an Eagle defender. The play resulted in a first down for the Bears on the unsportsmanlike call against Eisenhower, but it came at a cost. A hip injury sidelined Vela for the remainder of the game.
Eisenhower scored twice in the third quarter to take a 28-3 lead before the Bears could put together a long drive for their first touchdown of the night. One of those touchdowns by the Eagles came on a 44-yard fumble return.
Senior slot back Paul Domingue, who finished the night with 124 yards rushing, broke free for a long run deep into Eagle territory. A late hit by the Eagles as Domingue went out of bounds put Big Bear within the 5-yard line. Domingue scored on a 1 yard run to make the score 28–10.
Eisenhower scored three times in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. The Eagles made it 35-10 on a 48-yard interception return. A 15-yard run increased the margin to 41-10 in favor of the Eagles after the Bears failed to recover the ball deep in their own territory on a kickoff.
Domingue then took the ball around the left side for a 37-yard touchdown run To bring the Bears back to 41-17.
Eisenhower tacked on another score late in the game for the final score 48-17. It wasn’t a clean victory for Eisenhower. The Eagles were flagged 11 times for 115 yards and turned the ball over twice.
Eisenhower moves on to the second round Nov. 15 when it hosts top-ranked Crescenta Valley in Rialto.
In the other CIF playoff game involving a team from the Cross Valley League, Riverside Prep was shut out by Sierra Vista 68-0 in the Division 14 Championships.