PREP FOOTBALL: Bear River, Colfax face off in critical league bout | TheUnion.com

PREP FOOTBALL: Bear River, Colfax face off in critical league bout

It's been a long road home for the Bear River football team.

After four straight away games, in which they went 3-1, the Bruins will take the field at J. David Ramsey Stadium Friday night for the first time since Sept. 8.

"It's exciting to be home," said Bear River co-head coach Scott Savoie. "We've been on the road for so long."

Also making their way to J. David Ramsey Stadium tonight will be the rival Colfax Falcons, who come into the contest on the heels of back-to-back close losses to Pioneer Valley League heavyweights Placer and Lincoln.

"They opened with two of the top teams and they were right in there," Savoie said of Colfax. "I would imagine the Falcons will be highly motivated. But, our kids are too. We're excited about the game."

Bear River-Colfax has developed into one of the best local rivalries as the two schools of similar size have been duking it out for years.

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Colfax won last year's matchup, but the Bruins have won four of the last six contests, including a victory in the 2014 Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship game.

"Both programs continue to morph and change a little bit every year," said Savoie. "(Colfax coach) Tony Martello changes things a little bit every year, and we do too."

The Bruins defense, which has been strong all season allowing just 12.7 points per game, will be facing a high-flying Falcons offense that is averaging 45 points per game.

"They are a handful, that's for sure," said Savoie. "They are very talented."

Leading the Falcons offense is senior quarterback Ryland Heimann, who is completing 75 percent of his passes, averaging 213.4 yards per game and has 18 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. Heimann has several talented receiving options and spreads the ball around. Four different Falcons have 20 or more catches this season and six different receivers have caught touchdown passes.

"We can't miss tackles," said Bear River co-head coach Terry Logue. "They get a lot of yardage after the catch, so when they catch some of those shorter passes we need to make tackles. The other thing is we got to try not to get beat deep."

Bear River does have a strong secondary with quality defensive backs in Luke Baggett (24 tackles, two interceptions), Josh Zimmer (14 tackles), Calder Kunde (16 tackles, three interceptions) and Tre Maronic (25 tackles, two interceptions).

The Bruins have also been exceptionally good at getting to the quarterback this season. As a team, Bear River has 14 sacks, led by Sam Davis' four.

Colfax's most explosive offensive weapon is Mason Ahrens, who has put up huge numbers rushing and receiving this season. The 5-foot, 9-inch, 160-pound running back has 856 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns and is averaging 10.6 yards per carry. He also has a team-best 27 catches for 309 yards and six receiving scores.

For the Bruins, they will be without their leading rusher as Stephen Taylor will miss a second straight game due to injury. Bear River will instead lean on a bevy of backs which will include Austin Baze (184 rush yards, 7.4 yards per carry, four touchdowns), Zimmer (237 rush yards), Travis Carpenter (66 yards, five touchdowns), Hunter Daniels (119 yards, 5.2 yards per carry, one touchdown), Tre Maronic (97 yards, 5.1 yards per carry) and Clayton Anderson (104 yards, one touchdown). As a team, the Bruins average 193.7 yards rushing per game.

Through the air Bear River averages 115.3 yards per game and is led by Baggett, who has thrown for 662 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions.

Bear River is averaging 29.6 points per game this season. Looking to stop the Bruin offensive attack will be a Colfax defense that has allowed more than 40 points in each of their last two games, but gave up only 29 total points through their first five games of the season.

"The team that blocks and tackles the best will probably win, barring five or six turnovers," said Savoie. "What it really comes down to, is we need to play like we are capable of playing."

Tonight's matchup also has playoff implications as both the Bruins (6-1, 1-1 PVL) and Falcons (5-2, 0-2 PVL) have postseason aspirations. Both teams need league wins down the stretch to clinch a playoff berth.

"We still need to qualify for the playoffs," said Savoie. "We're 6-1 but there are no guarantees. We need that second league win for sure."

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. today at J. David Ramsey Stadium.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.

Know & go

What: Bear River (6-1, 1-1) vs. Colfax (5-2, 0-2)

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Where: J. David Ramsey Stadium, Bear River High School

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