PREP FOOTBALL: Bear River set for playoff clash with Capital Christian | TheUnion.com

PREP FOOTBALL: Bear River set for playoff clash with Capital Christian

Bear River's Austin Baze (29) runs the ball during a game against Colfax earlier this season. Baze and the Bruins open the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs tonight at Capital Christian.

After Bear River's playoff clinching win over Center in overtime last Friday, co-head coach Terry Logue called this year's crop of varsity Bruins one of the most overachieving groups he's ever coached.

"To go from 3-7 to 7-3 is an eight-game change in wins and losses. That's pretty amazing," Logue said comparing the 2017 team to the 2006 Bruins who went 7-3 with just seven seniors on the roster. "They really are overachievers…They should be proud. The whole school should be proud."

Bear River co-head coach Scott Savoie agreed.

"One of our major preseason goals was to flip the record and that's a heck of a feat," he said. "We want more. There's no doubt about that and right now our kids are believing."

The "overachievers" in cardinal and gray will now look to live up to that billing when they take on No. 3 Capital Christian (7-3) in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-V playoffs tonight in Sacramento.

"They're very, very talented that's for sure," Savoie said of the Cougars.

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Capital Christian, who won the Golden Empire League, comes into the contest riding a four-game winning streak.

The Cougars are a potent offensive team, that does most of its damage with their ground game, averaging 278.4 rush yards per game. They are led by running back D'Marcus Ross, who has put up eye-popping numbers. The 5-foot, 11-inch, 210-pound, junior has 1,011 yards and 18 touchdowns on just 80 carries. The three-year varsity player is averaging 12.6 yards per carry and has scored four touchdowns in four different games this season.

Capital Christian isn't a one-man show though, as seven different ball carriers have found the end zone this season, and three other Cougars running backs have at least 300 yards rushing this season.

Through the air, the Cougars average a little more than 100 yards per game. For the season, Capital Christian averages 35.3 points per game.

Looking to contain that powerful Cougars attack will be a stout Bruins defense that has yielded 18.1 points per game this season.

Bear River, the No. 6 seed in D-V, are led by a plethora of senior defensive playmakers including middle linebacker Travis Carpenter (95 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, interception), defensive end Austin Baze (59 tackles, four sacks) and defensive back Luke Baggett (50 tackles, five interceptions).

The Bruins have lots more talent on that side of the ball as well. As a team, Bear River has 11 interceptions, seven fumble recoveries and 16 sacks this season.

On the offensive side of the ball, Baggett and Baze lead the Bruins.

The 6-foot, 1-inch, 230-pound Baze, leads the Bear River ground game and is coming off an 189-yard, four touchdown performance against Center. It was Baze's best game of the season and an effort Savoie called "beastly."

Baggett, the Bruins senior signal caller, is a grind-it-out type of quarterback that often extends plays with his athleticism.

"Luke's a gamer. He's been a gamer all year long. I'm so impressed with his motor," Savoie said. "He's a quarterback with a defensive mentality. He's just tough. He's not afraid to take a hit or dish one out."

For the season, Baggett has thrown for 1,024 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions.

"The mindset is just do what we've been doing," Baggett said about competing in the postseason. "We've been in every game (this season). I think we got a good shot."

Baggett's top targets are junior Calder Kunde (26 catches, 432 yards, two touchdowns) and sophomore Tre Maronic (16 catches, 293 yards, three touchdowns).

For the season, Bear River is averaging 27.5 points per game.

Standing in the Bruins way will be a Cougars defense that is allowing 23.2 points per game.

Capital Christian boasts a strong secondary and ferocious pass rush which has 13 interceptions and 18 sacks. The Cougars' top pass rusher is junior defensive lineman Will Buck with 10 sacks. Their top defensive back is senior Chris McCoy with four interceptions.

For Capital Christian, this is their sixth straight trip into the postseason and are the reigning D-V Champs after beating Colfax in the title game last season.

Bear River is in the playoffs for the third time in four years after missing out last season. The Bruins won the D-V section crown in 2014, and reached the title game in 2015, but lost to Sonora. In that 2015 season, the Bruins beat Capital Christian in the semifinals.

"It's going to be exciting," Savoie said. "It's going to be fun."

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., today at Capital Christian High School in Sacramento.

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

KNOW & GO

Who: No. 6 Bear River (7-3) at No. 3 Capital Christian (7-3)

What: Sac-Joaquin Section D-V playoffs

When: 7 p.m., today

Where: Capital Christian High School, 9470 Micron Ave., Sacramento

Follow along: On Twitter @WalterLFordIII or online at TheUnion.com