In a season defined by upsets, the underdog continues to prevail.
For the first time in school history, Foothill beat Bear River in Pioneer Valley League play Friday with a dominant 40-17 win. The Mustangs were led by sophomore quarterback Joel “Jojo” Powell and senior running back Dae’vonnie Williams, who each had big performances on the ground.
“Our ground game, our ground game, our ground game, our ground game,” Foothill head coach Mervin Brookins said when asked what has been working for his team recently.
“We rely heavily on our offensive line,” Brookins said. “We’re senior-loaded on the offensive line, our starting running back is a senior and they’re going to lead us to the promised land. We stick with what works.”
Williams is the team’s workhorse, and it was very evident against the Bruins. The senior had a big performance with 19 carries for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
“That man is something else,” Powell said about his RB. “That’s all I could say. That man is something different.”
However, Williams was not the leading rusher for the Mustangs on Friday. Powell had a monster performance on the ground with seven carries for 163 yards and three touchdowns.
The sophomore signal-caller had three big rushes to help his team run away. Powell had rushes of 44 and 61 yards before capping the night with a QB sneak on fourth and inches that went 40 yards for a touchdown. Powell rarely had to pass but was efficient when doing so, as he went 5-for-6 for 65 yards.
“That is a sensational sophomore,” Brookins said. “Look out for him. He’s going to be here for years to come and I look forward to coaching him.”
Coming into Friday’s game, the Bruins and Mustangs were going in opposite directions. Foothill came into the matchup on a three-game losing streak after beginning the season undefeated at 4-0. Bear River had an impressive 6-1 record entering the game with their only loss to undefeated Center.
The Mustangs defense stepped up big against the Bruins. Bear River came into the game outscoring their opponents 207-101 through seven games. In both losses this season, the Bruins have been held to 17 points.
“Our defense played tremendously,” Brookins said. “We play hard-nose defense (and) rely on them.”
With the win, the Mustangs (5-3, 1-2 Pioneer Valley League) move into third place in the PVL, one spot ahead of the Bruins. Following the lopsided-victory, Brookins had a brief message for the rest of the league.
“Stang’ gang is here and we (are) coming,” he said.
Foothill plays at Marysville next week while Bear River (6-2, 1-2) hosts Colfax.