Bear River’s big game vs. Lincoln
There’s a lot of history between the Bear River and Lincoln football programs.
The teams laced ’em up annually from the late-1980s to the mid-1990s as members of the Golden Empire League, but had to part company when Bear River jumped to the Sierra Foothill League in 1996.
Thanks to last year’s league realignment, the Bruins and Zebras are together again.
The squads will pick up where they left off eight seasons ago in their Pioneer Valley League opener tonight in Lincoln at 7:30 p.m.
While the Zebras (2-1 overall) have lost a boatload to graduation – including an all-state quarterback in Nate Baker – Bruin coach Scott Savoie hasn’t counted a single chicken.
“This is the biggest game of the year for us by far. There’s a lot of tradition with Del Oro (of Loomis), but this is the one that counts,” Savoie said. “I don’t care what the newspapers or the internet has said, Lincoln is one of the better teams in the PVL.”
The Zebras have averaged 29.6 points per game, mostly on the legs of running back Justin Hobson.
The 6-foot-1 senior leads the PVL in both rushing (338 yards on 24 carries) and scoring (38 points).
“They will run at you inside, and use that to set up the option outside. We saw them over the summer and they looked very, very solid,” Savoie said.
If Bear River (2-1 overall) defenders key on the run too much, Lincoln won’t be shy about putting some air under the ball.
Sophomore quarterback Kurtis Koehler (6-2, 170), who’s third among PVL passers with 269 yards, has a trio of receivers with big-play potential.
Senior wideout Robert Lebeau has averaged 22.6 yards per catch and three touchdowns. He teams with Hobson (10.7 yards per catch) and sophomore fullback Benito Osuna (5-9, 225) to keep defenses honest.
Defensively, Lincoln has a mix of speed and size.
Senior linebacker Kyle Staggs (6-6, 255), a former Junior Bruin, and Josh Fife (6-1, 260) will try to slow Bear River’s running attack.
“They’ve given up a lot of points this season: Twenty eight to Golden Sierra and 22 to a tough Wheatland team, but held San Juan to three points. So it’s hard to say what they’ll be like Friday,” Savoie added.
The Bruins’ preseason ended on a sour note with last week’s 20-12 homefield loss to Del Oro, but Savoie said his boys have to keep the big picture in mind going into Friday.
It is time for league play.
“After last week’s loss, I told the kids everything except an undefeated season is in front of them. What we have to do now is focus on picking up this league opener,” Savioe said.
“In order to get to where we want to go, which are the playoffs, we need to get through Lincoln. There’s no doubt about that.”
Bear River vs. Lincoln
Where -Lincoln High School, 790 J Street
Time – Varsity kickoff at 7:30 p.m.
Showdown – Both teams are 2-1 heading into tonight’s Pioneer Valley League opener for both teams.
Take I-80 west Highway 65 exit. Follow 10 miles to Lincoln. Turn left on 7th Street, then right on J Street.
Pioneer Valley League
Team Overall PVL PF PA
Colfax 3-0 0-0 119 41
Bear River 2-1 0-0 50 48
Lincoln 2-1 0-0 89 57
Mesa Verde 2-1 0-0 80 39
Oakmont 2-1 0-0 105 73
Mira Loma 0-3 0-0 41 113
Johnson West 0-2 0-0 21 103
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