Playoff berth on line in Lincoln |

Playoff berth on line in Lincoln

Considering just five Bruins returned to the roster this fall with varsity experience – and that the team struggled to a 1-2 start to the season – few would have predicted Bear River to have a shot at securing a playoff berth in week seven of the 2006 season.

But the Bruins, winners of four straight games, will try to do just that at 7:30 tonight as they travel to Lincoln for a matchup of two teams sporting 3-0 records in Pioneer Valley League play.

“It’s wild to think we can wrap up a playoff berth (today) if we can win,” said Bruin co-head coach Scott Savoie.

Savoie said that statement is especially staggering looking back to last season, when after week 10 – a regular-season that saw Bear River post a 9-1 record – the Bruins weren’t even sure if they were playoff bound.

Not until a coin flip decided which of three co-PVL champions would fill the league’s allotted two playoff slots did the Bruins know their season would continue.

In the end, Bear River and Colfax moved on to the postseason, while Oakmont headed home despite sharing the same 5-1 PVL record as the Bruins and Falcons.

Nearly a year later, with three games still on the schedule, Bear River can wrap up one of three playoff berths presented to the PVL this season with a single victory.

But, Savoie warns, don’t count that “W” until it lands in the win column.

“It’s been great,” he said. “The kids have worked hard and we’ve worked hard just to try and get this group better and better.

“But we’re not satisfied yet. Not at all. We still have some things ahead of us.”

The first obstacle standing in the path to the playoffs is a Lincoln team that also has won four straight games and owns a 5-2 overall record identical to the Bruins. In fact, the Zebras also started the season with a 1-2 record, before running through their past four games unscathed.

After suffering a 61-24 shellacking at Gridley in week three, the Zebras regrouped to beat Mesa Verde (14-9), El Dorado (41-30), Lindhurst (49-14) and Placer (19-0).

“We really happy with the progress of our team. That’s for sure,” said Savoie. “But I hope we can survive this week. Lincoln is really good.”

The Zebras are powered by a ground game that has produced three running backs with nearly 400 yards each. Nic Cova has rushed for 598 yards, Rex Sievers another 441 yards and Austin Roiux has totaled 395 yards.

According to Savoie, however, Rouix is the Zebras’ top runner and has just returned from an injury, one that sidelined him for two games. Rouix, a 5-11, 175-pound senior started the season with three straight 100-yard performances before being injured.

Rouix and his backfield mates have followed the lead of an offensive front that impresses Savoie, especially on the right side. That’s where the Bruins will find 6-foot, 4-inch, 300-pound senior tackle Kevin Youtsey and 5-10, 225-pound junior guard Tony Ramirez.

“(Youtsey) is as good as any player I’ve seen this year,” Savoie said. “He dominates football games.”

In the history of the series, Bear River has dominated Lincoln to the tune of 13 victories against two losses, including last season’s 41-0 win at the Bruins’ Ramsey Stadium.

Lincoln’s two victories over Bear River date back to the first two years of the Bruins’ existence. The Zebras beat the Bruins 43-12 in 1986 and 24-0 in 1987, but have not seen a win over Bear River since.

But, Savoie said, change is in the air over at Lincoln, where a new stadium opened this season and two new co-head coaches are at the helm.

Don Johnson and Ken Lowe replaced Clint Nelson this fall and are leading a senior class that won PVL championships at the freshman and junior varsity levels.

“History has got nothing to do with the present,” Savoie said. “If anything, it probably works against us because I know they’re gunning for us.”


To contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton, e-mail or call 477-4240.

Bear River (5-2) at Lincoln (5-2)

Statistical leaders

Rushing – Bear River, C.J. Crausby 45-329 and 6 TDs, Andy Parquette 77-200 and 5 TDs, David Richey 39-188 and 2 TDs. Lincoln, Nic Cova 71-598 and 5 TDs, Rex Sievers 53-441 and 1 TD, Austin Roiux 63-395 and 4 TDs.

Passing – Bear River, C.J. Crausby 33-62-2 for 651 yards and 4 TDs, Drew Loftus 5-16-0 for 76 yards. Lincoln, Myles Weck 12-23-1 for 264 yards and 1 TD, Michael Dasilva 18-33-1 for 206 yards and 4 TDs.

Receiving – Bear River, Axel Wadman 18-235 and 2 TDs, Lars Nielsen 12-364 and 2 TDs, Hunter Tanquary 3-53. Lincoln, 11-197 and 2 TDs, Ryan Casner 5-103 and 1 TD, Ray Bevons 2-88 and 1 TD.

Directions – Take I-80 west to Highway 65 exit to Lincoln. Once in Lincoln, turn left (west) on Seventh Street. At J Strett, turn right (north).

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