Bear River blasts Nevada Union in Water Polo |

Bear River blasts Nevada Union in Water Polo

Anyone who doesn’t believe water polo to be a full-contact sport needs only to talk with Bear River’s Garrat Johnson.

The junior team captain just recently got back into the pool after sustaining a serious ear injury from what sounds like a “no-holds barred” match in a Reno area tournament earlier this fall.

“The kid pulled his cap off and just slammed (Johnson’s) head into his knee,” said Bruin coach Alan Eggers, noting that Johnson’s bursted ear drum won’t be fully healed until he is able to undergo surgery three to four months from now.

“It was a cheap shot, but it’s not really a big deal,” Johnson said, before noting that he often feels “dizzy” in the pool now that his equilibrium is off due to the injury.

But Johnson managed to find his balance long enough to score three goals for Bear River in Wednesday’s 15-2 home win over Nevada Union. Jake Armstrong led the scoring attack with seven goals. Justin Brown had two goals, while Sam Aquilar, Justin Duffy and Josh Cutter each scored once.

Nevada Union, which fell to 1-7 in the SFL, was led by goals from sophomore Will Carrara and junior Conner Holland.

Johnson, also one of the top competitors for Bear River’s swim program, said he decided to return to the water polo team as soon as possible for a variety of reasons, the first of which being his “love for the game.”

He also hopes to earn a scholarship to play water polo in college, which made getting back into the pool for more action a priority, but he’s also excited about the progress he and his teammates have made in Bear River’s relatively young program.

The Bruins currently own a 5-4 record and a third-place tie with Del Oro in the Sierra Foothill League standings, behind league powers Granite Bay (6-0) and Woodcreek (6-0). If the Bruins can hold onto the third spot in the SFL, the would qualify for the playoffs for the first time in the program’s three-year history.

“That would be huge for the program,” Johnson said.

Bear River’s win over Nevada Union helped to ease the frustration of a 15-14 loss to Del Oro on Tuesday, when the Golden Eagles to the game-winning goal with just 12 seconds remaining in the match.

“We really needed a high-scoring game today,” Eggers said. “The kids are starting to come together, although we haven’t had a full team out there yet this season, with all of the sickness and injuries we’ve had.

“Being the third year of the program, I’m pleased with the progress we’ve seen. Now we need to tighten things up and fine-tune our play. If we do that, we could be a real good team.”

Contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton via e-mail at or by phone at 477-4240.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User