By Brian Rathbone

The Bulletin

It was a battle of conflicting styles between crosstown rivals.

Bend High completed just one pass Friday night and Summit finished with just 1 rushing yard.

The Class 6A Special District 6 game went to the ground-and-pound team, giving the Lava Bears their third straight victory, 26-9 in Bend High’s homecoming game.

“It was a complete game for us,” said Bend coach Matt Craven. “Our defense played really well, we tackled well, played well in the secondary. I thought our offense did a really good job mounting drives — not all of them scored, but they did a good job of eating up clock and changing field position, and we were able to break big plays when we needed it.”

On the first play of the Lava Bears’ second possession, they got their first big play. Junior running back Nate Denney busted through the line, broke a tackle and outran the Storm defense for a 42-yard touchdown.

Bend scored on its next two possessions. Kolton Scott took a reverse 68 yards to the house, then Denney found pay dirt again, reaching into the end zone from a yard out.

Jumping to an early lead, Craven said, helped calm the team’s nerves that inherently come from a homecoming game. Not only that, it helped shorten the game by keeping the clock moving.

“With this new offense, we have to get in a groove to get going,” said Denney, who finished with 196 rushing yards and three touchdowns. “When we start off scoring, it’s just better throughout the whole game.”

Meanwhile, all the Summit offense could muster in the first half was a 34-yard field goal from Soren McKee.

After a stop on Summit’s opening drive of the second half, Bend went back to work on offense, or so it appeared. Quarterback Colt Musgrave’s pass was tipped by Jack Schaffer and intercepted in the end zone by Summit defensive back Charlie Murphy.

The Storm converted the turnover into points, mounting a 15-play, 80-yard drive capped off with quarterback Michael Schutz (who took over at QB in the second quarter, moving starter Hank Tobias to wide receiver) connecting with wide receiver Blake DiTullio on a fourth-and-goal from the 15-yard line. DiTullio’s sliding catch just crossed the goal line for the Storm’s first touchdown.

Schutz (163) and Tobias (53) combined for 216 yards through the air, using as many as five receivers on a play to spread out the Bend defense. But the Lava Bears were up to the challenge.

“They definitely spread the field on offense,” Craven said. “It forces your secondary to make individual plays. I thought our guys did a really good job of that. We made them earn it. We only gave up one long pass.”

Any chance of a Summit comeback was put to rest when Denney scored his third touchdown from 10 yards out with four minutes left in the fourth quarter. He then intercepted Schutz to end Summit’s final drive.

Winners of three straight, Bend improves to 2-0 in league play with two league games remaining. The Lava Bears are coming of age and better understanding the new offense that has been installed this season and now have postseason intentions.

“We are just getting rolling. We are just getting started,” Denney said. “This is just the beginning. We are trying to get that playoff berth.”

Next week, Bend plays at McNary in Keizer while Summit (0-2 SD6, 1-5 overall) aims for its first league win at Sprague of Salem.

— Reporter: 541-383-0307, brathbone@bendbulletin.com

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