Duncan looks to settle in at QB, ignite offensive charge for Bear River | TheUnion.com

Duncan looks to settle in at QB, ignite offensive charge for Bear River

Brian Shepard
Sports Writer

Bear River High School football practice, Friday afternoon, August 16, 2013.

Bear River finished 2012 averaging 25.5 points per game on offense thanks largely to an evenly distributed dual attack through the air and in the trenches. This season, some of those pieces will return at running back, tight end and wide receiver, but the torch has been passed at quarterback to senior Braden Duncan.

"I was planning on playing quarterback this year," explained Duncan. "That game (versus Central Catholic) opened my eyes to the speed of varsity level."

Duncan entered the last game of the season in 2012 and was given a brief glimpse of what the next level was like. He only attempted one pass while in the game, and it went for a 2-yard completion. Getting involved early and staying active with the team has helped him blossom.

"We definitely have good chemistry, and we're all tight off the field," Duncan said. "Hunter Cramer is actually my cousin. He lives with me. QB is a fun position. I like the leadership role. Bootleg passes, Fire 45 and Wide Trap are my favorite routes."

At running back, Bear River will look to seniors Caleb Johnson and Michael Tipton to carry the load. Either John Voter or Garret Ramsour will get the nod for the fullback duty.

Johnson finished with 295 yards rushing while Brad Botsford ran for 133 yards, and Tipton had 95 yards with four touchdowns between them.

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"I'm able and have quickness," said Tipton. "I read the field and follow my blocks. Scoring a lot of TDs would be great. I'd love to break school records, but doesn't everyone? We're all-around good backs with speed and vision. We have Ryan Wagner and Kris Edie at wide receiver and Cade Matthews and Hunter Cramer at tight end. There's lots of options."

Last season at the tight end position, Cramer had 217 yards receiving and two touchdown catches. Now living with the Bruins' new quarterback and maturing more as a player, he is stoked with what his guys are bringing to the table.

"It's my last year playing, and we're bringing it all back this season with youth and size," said Cramer. "I like how we have tempo and energy with a lot of speed. My size and dominance help me to get above the linebackers. I like running a Y Choice pattern because it give me options to see what I like best. I'm looking forward to all of our league games because it's what counts most for the playoffs. I think we'll make it for sure. If we all do our jobs and play 100 percent, we can go far."

Wide receiver Edie had two catches for 22 yards last season but now as a senior expects more opportunities to showcase his talent and help contribute to his team.

"My hands are my best weapon," said Edie. "I like to run a fade streak one on one. Our guys started the season out distant and have come together. Everyone is on the same page now."

Looking ahead, Duncan is excited about his opportunity to make a difference as an impact player and a leader, and he would be lying a little if he didn't say playing Colfax didn't mean something special to him.

"Obviously Colfax is a big game, just the rivalry alone," added Duncan. "Center is supposed to be good, too. I think we'll do pretty good and make the playoffs. I watched Dillon Smith last year and took notes on him. I'd say the strongest part of my game is communication."

Working on communication through the first five non-conference games will be helpful to many of the greener players before the crucial stretch of league battles. One thing is definitely for certain though — these Bruins are going to have to be relentless on both sides of the ball and not waste any opportunities. Coming away from the red zone empty handed is something any team can ill-afford to do.

"I definitely want our opponents to notice and respect us," said Duncan.

The best way to earn respect is to win games, and in doing so, this Bruins squad will likely turn some heads. If anyone understands the importance of getting off on the right foot, it's Bear River's co-head coaches.

"The first game is usually critical to getting off to a good start," said Terry Logue. "It doesn't matter if you lose by one or win by 100. Every one is critical. There's teams that have gone 7-3 and played above their ability and those that have played below."

Whether the Bruins have a good enough record to make the playoffs will have to wait to be seen, but playing up to their full potential is something that will continue to progress as the season continues.

"There's no substitute for game experience," said Scott Savoie. "You can practice, work on technique … we're going to make mistakes up front, and the kids are going to battle. Offense is all about execution. If 10 guys do the right thing but one guy does something wrong, it's not going to produce."

To contact Sports Writer Brian Shepard, call 530-477-4234 or email bshepard@theunion.com.

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