Longtime coach Bob Jackson retired in December after 19 seasons, and his conservative option offense left with him. New coach Ryan Bartlett’s spread attack brought some new blood to the roster.
The pass-happy, quick-tempo offense sputtered, but the Bears did enough to outlast Roseville for a 13-10 victory. Bears running back Nick Truen, a third-year varsity player, noted several aspects were different.
“We came into stadium differently, and we warmed up on the other side of the field,” Truen said. “Everything was way different, but I like it better.”
Truen sparked White Bear Lake’s lone touchdown drive, taking an inside reverse and bursting downfield for a 35-yard gain. One play later, quarterback Trey Anderson hit wide-open Beau Smit for a 51-yard touchdown to tie the score 10-10 in the fourth quarter.
Truen said Smit, a senior, joined the team this fall in part because of an opportunity to catch some passes.
But Bartlett’s offense struggled to maintain tempo as passes were overthrown or dropped. Roseville’s spread floundered as well, managing only one scoring drive in the first half.
Quarterback Jacques Perra found Matthew Peckham for a 16-yard touchdown to give Roseville a 7-3 lead in the second quarter. The Raiders later added a 25-yard field goal by Sam Loveland to go ahead 10-3 in the third quarter. Loveland’s 45-yard attempt as time expired was no good.
White Bear Lake’s Michael Maw connected on a 20-yard field goal to give his team a 13-10 lead it would not lose.
“We did enough to win,” said Bartlett, who came over from Armstrong. “Our quarterback is a sophomore, our offensive line didn’t have a great night and the coaches didn’t do a great job.”
Truen said his team saw flashes of what the spread offense can do once it gains experience.
“We’ve got some playmakers,” he said. “We just need to gain some confidence.”