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Bruins press on with optimism

Bear River High football team is looking utilize their experience this season
By: Matthew Bell Journal Sports Correspondant
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With just over a week until the season kicks off, the Bear River High football team was hard at work preparing for the upcoming season during practice last week. In 90-degree heat, the players pushed themselves to the limit during a hard, two-and-half hour, full-gear practice, which was capped off by 15 minutes of sprints. The team ran both sides against each other in a scrimmage for most of the practice, including some goal line work. Co-head coach Scott Savoie, after the practice, was proud of his team’s effort, which he said has been strong throughout the early practices. “They came to the first practice like this — upbeat and ready to go,” Savoie said. “And they’ve really dealt with the heat well.” Normally a dominant team, Bear River is looking to rebound after a 5-5 season last year, finishing fourth in the Pioneer Valley League — its worst finish ever in the PVL. Looking back over last year’s season, both coaches pointed to an overtime loss against Colfax as a pivotal blow that sent them into a mid-season slump. “That really put us down for a few weeks,” co-head coach Terry Logue said. But, looking to the season ahead, they feel that the Bruins can draw from how well they fought back from that slump. “After the seventh game last year, we really picked things up,” Savoie said. “I think the juniors really saw what it takes to play at this level.” Those players are now seniors, including 6-4 center Craig Hackland (first team All-PVL last year) and 5-11 running back Sam Houston (who averaged 63 yards/game last year). They hope to build on their experience from last year, but are faced with some tough preseason injuries: a rib injury and a bad knee, respectively. Despite the injuries, the team is excited for the season to begin and looks to return to form led, by a depth of talent, including senior 6-0 wide receiver/cornerback Joey Reina and several talented juniors who are coming off a PVL championship junior varsity season. They have a tough road ahead of them, however, as they face the challenge of leading their team against some tough competition in a very talented league. “It’s always tough,” Savoie said. “You’ve got Placer and now Foothill — and Lincoln won it last year.” The Bruins will also have to make due without last year’s senior star Cole White, who made first-team all-PVL and led the team in tackles per game at 15.9. He is currently playing football at Trinity College in North Dakota. Bear River’s first game is in “Week Zero” against Cordova on Friday. Because they’ve only been allowed to practice in pads since Aug. 11 per Sac-Joaquin Section rules, the Bruins have had little prep time. Logue, commenting on the early start, said that best indicator of where his team stands going into the season will be a scrimmage on Saturday at Foothill. “We’ll really get to see how they can react — to different formations, plays — it’s a great test,” he said.