With postseason berth secure, Bruins set sights on title
There’s only one thing that has consistently caused problems for El Dorado this season.
The Cougars (4-4 overall) pass well and run well, but have given up a Pioneer Valley League-high 200 points on the way to a 2-3 PVL record.
Their offense, which has the third-most points in the league (213), takes on the second-best PVL defense at 7:30 tonight at Bear River’s Ramsey Stadium. The Bruins (6-2 overall, 4-0 PVL) have outscored their opponents 210-82 this season, making their offense the fourth-most productive in the league.
Bear River won 21-18 last Friday at Lincoln to secure a berth in the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean the Bruins will be letting up. A win tonight and next Friday at Colfax (8-0 overall, 4-0 PVL) would make Bear River a back-to-back PVL champion, after finishing in a three-way tie with Oakmont and Colfax for last year’s league crown.
“We’ve done a good job thus far,” Savoie said. “But we want to finish what we started.”
El Dorado features a quarterback, Jared Gavard, who has thrown for 1,479 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. In the backfield, the Cougars have a pair of running backs Savoie said are always threats to make big plays.
Michael Reed has rushed for 707 yards and seven touchdowns this season, and Jon Paul Turner has 503 yards and six touchdowns.
“They have two guys in the backfield that are scary,” Savoie said. “Jon Paul Turner is explosive, and Michael Reed has 700 yards on the season.”
What might be a bigger warning to opponents than any of the Cougars’ wins is their 27-20 loss to Colfax on Oct. 13. Unbeaten Colfax has not played a tighter game this season.
“They had Colfax down 14-0 late in the second quarter,” Savoie said. “It was a great game.”
Following that loss, the Cougars have put together back-to-back wins. On Oct. 20, they won 18-14 at Whitney, followed by last week’s 40-26 home victory against Mesa Verde.
El Dorado’s balanced offense isn’t all the Bruins have focused on in practice this week. Savoie said the Cougars are more prone to trickery than any team Bear River has faced this season.
“They do a lot of things on special teams, a lot of gadget plays, trick plays, those types of things,” Savoie said. “They’ve got a strange kickoff-return team, a spread punt team … it takes practice time to make sure that we get lined up correctly. There are several fake punts that they use. They’re all over the place on offense and defense. There are a lot of different formations to be prepared for.
“So this week’s been a very heavy-learning week, just trying to make sure we get lined up right.”
Wide receivers W. Michael Turner and Colin Williams give El Dorado threats on either side of the field. Turner has caught a team-high 39 passes for 618 yards and three touchdowns, and Williams has 28 catches for 482 yards and four touchdowns.
Axel Wadman leads the Bruins in receptions with 20 for 240 yards and three touchdowns, and Lars Nielsen has 16 catches for 412 yards and two scores.
Quarterback C.J. Crausby, also Bear River’s leading running back, is 40-of-72 for 706 yards and five touchdowns this season. Crausby has gained 410 yards on the ground and rushed for eight touchdowns.
Bear River holds a 2-0 all-time record against El Dorado. The last time the teams met, in 2000, the Bruins won 35-0.
The Cougars moved from the Sierra Valley Conference the Pioneer Valley League this season. Last year, El Dorado finished 1-6 in league and 3-7 overall.
To contact Sports Writer Jeff Miller, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4247.
Bear River (6-2) vs. El Dorado (4-4)
Rushing – El Dorado, Michael Reed 109-707 and 7 TD, Jon Paul Turner 98-503 and 6 TD, Max McAfee 5-75 and TD. Bear River, C.J. Crausby 65-410 and 8 TD, Andy Parquette 79-203 and 5 TD, David Richey 42-199 and 2 TD.
Passing – El Dorado, Jared Gavard 117-199-10 for 1,479 yards and 10 TD, Max McAfee 2-3-0 for 101 yards and TD. Bear River, C.J. Crausby 40-72-2 for 706 yards and 5 TD, Drew Loftues 6-18-1 for 86 yards.
Receiving – El Dorado, W. Michael Turner 39-618 and 3 TD, Colin Williams 28-482 and 4 TD, Trevor Peterson 26-289 and TD. Bear River, Axel Wadman 20-240 and 3 TD, Lars Nielsen 16-412 and 2 TD, Hunter Tanquary 3-53.
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