BIG BEAR >> Big Bear’s Chuy Castro saw fear and confusion coming from across the line against Santa Ana High in Friday afternoon’s CIF Southern Section Division 12 semifinal.
The Bears’ 45-17 triumph had plenty of both.
In a battle between a pair of 11-1, ground-oriented teams with running quarterbacks, the difference may have been the smaller Bears’ double wing attack, which confused their opponent.
“They see fear,” said Castro, who scored three touchdowns, kicked a 51-yard field goal and ran for 127 yards — one of three Bears’ ball carriers with at least 100 yards.
“In our first playoff game,” he said, “(Big Bear QB Chase Dowty) ran for an 80-yard touchdown. Their cornerback didn’t have a clue.”
It’s confusing to try to figure out which Bear has the football.
The Bears’ double wing operates with a variety of looks, fakes and misdirection plays that serve to confuse a defense.
Said Bears’ veteran coach Dave Griffiths: “It’s hard to replicate in practice to get ready for us.” He said Army and Navy, teams that can’t bring in sizeable players, use the same approaches.
Troy Dobis’ seven carries totalled 100 yards, mostly on option pitches from Dowty (121 yards, 2 TDs), with fullback Paul Hoag (60 yards, 11 carries) powering inside.
Castro, who scored a 21-yard TD in the final minute of the opening half, broke loose from four Saints’ tacklers in the process. His role is sweeps outside, breaking tackles and working through overmatched defenders.
“It’s definitely confusing for teams like that,” he said.
While Big Bear has been out-sized throughout the season, Castro said the team’s game comes down to correct technique.
There was one other difference. Big Bear’s defense, which surrendered 190 yards to rival Saints’ QB Damian Macias, held running back Allan Pacheco (1,965 yards, 12 games) to 81 yards on 26 carries.
Said Castro: “We had the best athletes on our scout teams at practice this week. We knew about their running back and their quarterback. We had a very good idea what they had.”
It wasn’t a question of who stopped Pacheco. It was a question of who didn’t stop him.
Johann Auer, Hoag, Matt Stillwell and Zachary Bernard, plus Castro, led the charge. Trailing 31-17 midway through the fourth quarter, Santa Ana’s last-gasp was a fourth-and-4 play.
Macias carried, slowed up by Bernard and stopped by Edgar Vela.
It’s possible that a crucial part of the game took place over a 2:45 span in the…