Bear River football squad is off to a solid start |

Bear River football squad is off to a solid start

Photo for The Union by John Hart
John Hart | The Union

It’s no secret the Bear River football squad is off to a solid start, sporting a perfect 4-0 record and, along the way, outscoring its opponents, 123-63.

Last week, the Bruins ran through River Valley, 28-14, with second-string quarterback Cameron Barrios coming through in the clutch with some key third-down conversions.

This week the Bruins pack their bags and travel 185 miles southwest to the central coast to face another intriguing opponent in Scotts Valley.

The Falcons (1-2) are a battle-tested group that has faced San Angelo Central and Le Grand, both of which are consistent playoff contenders. San Angelo, from Texas, is the 2011 5A Region I District 2 champion. Le Grand is the reigning Sac-Joaquin Division V champion, and Scotts Valley managed to hang tough in a 14-6 losing effort.

“The Central Coast is a good football section, very competitive,” said Bear River co-head coach Scott Savoie. “They’ve battled and seem well coached. They’re extreme on O-spread and double-tight formations and get to the edge fast.”

However, it’s not just tough opponents that has Scotts Valley coming up a little bit short this season. The squad had 20 seniors graduate last year, including its star running back, Collin Corbella, who set a school record by rushing for 1,869 yards and 13 touchdowns. The team does have six returning starters on defense.

The Bruins will look to continue sharing responsibility on the offense, which will showcase a multi-quarterback scheme this time around with Barrios and Dillion Smith at quarterback. They’ve both gotten reps and saw plenty of action in practice all week.

Smith has recovered from his separated shoulder, and Barrios is ready to be back on defense again, said Savoie.

“Dillion looked good. He’s got the green light,” Savoie said.

The Bruins are hungry to get on the field and put on a good performance in their final non-conference game before they begin Pioneer Valley League play, said Savoie.

“We’re really excited to get on a bus and get out of our area to play somebody new,” said Savoie.

The Falcons have either won or finished runner up in their league the past six seasons. This season, Scotts Valley’s running back Ari Wargon looks to continue the team’s streak.

Wargon had 25 carries for 196 yards and a touchdown in the season-opening win over Evergreen Valley. Taking on a stout San Angelo Texas squad, he recorded 17 carries for 87 yards. Containing Wargon and forcing third-and-long situations is going to be crucial if the Bruins want control the ball and set the tempo for the game, said Savoie.

In comparison, Bear River has used several different backs to power its offense. Austin Dowling, Andrew Reiss Jr., Cody Heard, Michael Raigoza and Caleb Johnson all had at least five carries in last week’s game for a combined 211 yards with Raigoza , Reiss Jr. and Dowling accounting for the majority of the workload.

On the season, the Bruins have rushed for 879 yards and 13 touchdowns. Through the air, Bear River has scored four touchdowns and racked up 489 yards.

“In previous years, we always seemed to have one guy step up to rush for over 1,000 yards,” Savoie said. “I like what we got going. You can’t be selfish. Spreading the ball around has worked great for us.”

With rival Colfax looming for next week’s first PVL game, Bear River also knows the importance of staying healthy and not getting too far ahead of itself.

Friday’s practice didn’t involve pads and was more of a mental preparation, said Savoie.

“We’re where we want to be,” said Savoie. “It’s not where you are at the beginning of the season but where you are at the end. Our potential is great.”

To contact Sports Writer Brian Shepard, call (530) 477-4234 or email

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