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Bruins rout Cougars, keep dim playoff hopes alive

By: Ray Hacke, Journal Sports Writer Ray Hacke, Journal Sports Writer
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PLACERVILLE – Before Friday, the Bear River High football team’s season seemed dangerously close to flat-lining. Thanks to a 40-15 win over El Dorado – and the Sac-Joaquin Section’s new playoff format – however, the Bruins’ season may have been revived. Bruins co-coach Terry Logue said he would know by 1 p.m. Saturday whether his team will be going to the playoffs. Bear River’s postseason fate was not entirely in its own hands – it needed either Pioneer, Yuba City or Argonaut to lose, according to Logue – but the Bruins (5-5, 2-4 Pioneer Valley League) at least did their part by earning their second league victory, the minimum number needed to get in under the Sac-Joaquin Section’s new format. “I hope by hook or by crook, we can get into the playoffs,” Logue said. “Our last three games, we’ve played very good football.” Senior running back/linebacker Cole White agreed. “We’re playing good right now, and we’ll play even better if we make it,” said White, who scored two touchdowns and forced a fumble that bounced out of El Dorado’s end zone for a safety Friday night. Bear River defeated El Dorado (2-8, 1-4 PVL) thanks in large part to its defense, which forced six turnovers and regularly gave the Bruins’ offense a short field to work with. With the exception two plays of 65 yards or more that resulted in touchdowns, Bear River didn’t allow the Cougars to move the ball past the Bruins’ 45 all night. “We played very aggressively,” Logue said. “Other than the two long plays that we gave up, our defense played terrific – just outstanding. We pressured their quarterback and stuffed their running game for most of the night.” Two turnovers helped the Bruins jump out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. The first came when junior cornerback Joey Reina stripped the ball from Cougars running back Chris Haskins in El Dorado territory and ran it back to the Cougars’ 24-yard line. Three plays later, senior running back Johnny Jewett scored the game’s first touchdown for Bear River on an 11-yard sweep. El Dorado fumbled again on its next possession, and this time senior linebacker Chad Braemer was there to pick it up for the Bruins. Three plays later, White ran the ball in from the Cougars’ 10. Bear River forced four more turnovers in the second half. Junior linebacker Tyler Quirarte and senior defensive backs Jewett and Cody Van Fossen each had second-half interceptions, and junior defensive lineman Christian Gibbons recovered a fumble at El Dorado’s 5-yard line in the fourth quarter. Running backs Colby Angus and Sam Houston each had rushing touchdowns for the Bruins. Jewett led all Bear River rushers with 122 yards on 12 carries, while Houston (76), Angus (67) and White (58) combined for an additional 201 rushing yards. Senior placekicker Michael Lohrke booted a 27-yard field goal in the third quarter to cap the game’s scoring. “We’re very proud of the fact that we kept our 22-year streak of not having a losing season alive,” Logue said. “We haven’t had a losing season here since 1988. Not too many teams in the section can say that.” Junior varsity A trio of two-way standouts helped Bear River cap a perfect 10-0 season and clinch the Pioneer Valley League championship with a 41-14 victory over El Dorado Friday night. Quarterback/defensive end Dallen Huetter threw a touchdown pass to Brandon Wooner on offense and had nine tackles and a fumble recovery on defense. Jimmy Bamburg and Josh Toft, meanwhile, who each played running back and linebacker, each rushed for one touchdown on offense and at least nine tackles on defense – Bamburg had a team-high 11, including one sack. Running back Trevor McGee had a team-high 63 yards and two touchdowns on just three carries for Bear River. Also scoring for the Bruins was fullback Stephen Buschmann. On the other side of the ball, defensive tackle Dillon Huffman had eight tackles, forced a fumble and blocked a field-goal attempt, and cornerback Tyler Kistner had an interception.