Bruins prepped to face hungry Hillmen in PVL clash
As if Placer didn’t have enough motivation heading into tonight’s Pioneer Valley League matchup with visiting Bear River, the Hillmen have an added sense of urgency after falling 28-27 to Golden Sierra in a nonleague matchup last week on homecoming night.
“So I guess that just means they’ll be even more hungry for us,” said Bear River co-head coach Scott Savoie.
The Bruins (3-2) head down Highway 49 for a short drive to Auburn, where they will resume the rivalry with Placer (3-2) that the teams shared during their former Sierra Foothill League battles between 1996-2001.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Because the teams haven’t squared off in five years (Bear River leads the series 4-2) the Bruins were busy this week brushing up on what Savoie and co-head coach Terry Logue know about the Hillmen.
“What we know about Placer is that Coach (Mike) Sabins has been there quite some time and they’re very well-coached,” Savoie said. “They’re primarily a 4-3 (defensive) football team. They’re an I-formation offensive team that is predominantly run-oriented, but they can – and will – pass the ball.
“One thing you can count on with Placer, though, is that you’re going to get hit. When we’ve tangled with Placer in the past, they’ve had tough, scrappy kids. And I have to assume we’re going to be in a real ballgame this week.”
The Hillmen won their PVL opener on Sept. 29, downing El Dorado by a 7-6 count, which means both teams enter tonight’s tilt with 1-0 league marks. Bear River beat Whitney 35-7 last Friday.
Including the Bruins and Hillmen, four PVL teams have yet to fall in the early goings of league play. Colfax (5-0 overall) is 2-0 in league games, while Lincoln is also 2-0 in the PVL.
“We know and they know that whoever wins this game is still in the driver’s seat, still controlling their destiny,” Savoie said. “Knowing that is going to add to the intensity of the game.”
Bear River will be looking for its third-straight victory, but Savoie said the Bruins will have their hands full in trying to keep the Hillmen under wraps. Placer’s backfield is chock full of talented runners, Savoie said, something that reminds the coach of his own team.
The Hillmen are led in rushing by Ross Moskwa, a junior who has totaled 442 yards. Bobby Classon, a junior listed as a wide receiver on the roster, has rushed for 338 yards and senior Aaron Heffernan has 114 yards on the ground. Another senior, Dallas Scott, has gained 83 rushing yards and leads the Hillmen backfield with four touchdowns.
Placer junior quarterback Charlie Harrison has completed 24-of-59 passing for 330 yards and two touchdowns with four interceptions. His top targets have been Keith Culley and John Kok, each with eight catches. Culley lead the team in receiving yardage with 159 yards.
On the opposite side of the ball, Bear River’s number of ballcarriers continues to grow. Over the past two weeks, Bruin fans have watched both quarterback C.J. Crausby and tight end Axel Wadman line up in the backfield and produce big plays for Bear River.
“I don’t know if it’s so much different than any other team in that you want to give our best athletes the ball when you can,” Savoie said. “There are definitely teams where you want the ball in those guys hands, but last week we felt David Richey also had his breakout game.”
Richey rushed for 51 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries in the win over Whitney. That performance pushed his season yardage total to 142, making him the fourth Bruin back to surpass 100 yards in rushing. Andy Parquette leads the team with 62 carries for 167 yards, while Crausby has rushed for 108 yards on 22 carries and Matt Belnap has 102 yards on 19 carries.
“As we get healthy, we’re able to do some more things,” Savoie said. “Having Gary Schmidt and Kenny Giacomini back at tight end allowed us to move Axel around. He has the ability to do a lot of things for us. You never know where we might just put him.
“But I think having more players involved is only making us stronger.”
And, Savoie said, his Bruins had better be ready for a strong – and hungry – Placer team tonight.
“We’ve been telling the kids that Placer has been banging heads in the SFL the last several years, so they’re not going to be afraid of anybody in the PVL,” he said. “But it’s going to be interesting to see what happens.”
To contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4240.
Rushing – Bear River, Andy Parquette 62-167, David Richey 25-142, C.J. Crausby 22-108, Matt Belnap 19-102. Placer, Ross Moskwa 87-442, Bobby Classon 48-338, Aaron Heffernan 24-114, Dallas Scott 17-83.
Passing – Bear River, C.J. Crausby 26-48-1 for 521 yards and 4 TD. Placer, Charlie Harrison 24-59-4 for 330 yards and 2 TD.
Receiving – Bear River, Lars Nielsen 9-263, Axel Wadman 15-208, Jared Murnan 2-38, Hunter Tanquary 2-49, Matt Belnap 2-14. Placer, Keith Culley 8-159, John Kok 8-80, Adam Fry 3-32, Heffernan 3-25.
Directions – Take Highway 49 south to Auburn. Turn left (east) at Lincoln Way. At the stoplight, turn right (south) on High Street. At Finley Street, turn left (east). At Orange Street, turn right (south). Placer High School is on Orange Street.
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