Bruins to face big-play halfback
Thumb through the Capital Valley Conference’s football stat sheets and you’ll see a certain name keeps popping up again and again.
It’s Vanden of Fairfield’s Jason Dean.
The 5-foot, 10-inch, 185 pound senior halfback/defensive back, who’s been clocked in the 40-meter dash at 4.38 seconds, leads the league in scoring (108 points), rushing (1,176 yards) and receiving (418 yards), total offense (168 ypg) and all-purpose yardage (227.7 ypg).
“He’s definitely their man,” Bear River head coach Scott Savoie said. “He ran for (237) yards against Center and most of that came off big plays.”
Savoie’s Bruins (6-1 overall, 4-0 Pioneer Valley League) will get a chance to see what all of the hub-bub is about first hand when they travel to Vikings’ home turf in Fairfield for Friday’s non-league matchup.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Vanden (6-1, 3-1) won three straight to open the season – including a 12-0 decision over defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division II champ Manteca – then met up with Foothill of Sacramento in the CVC opener.
The Mustang defense held Dean to 87 yards on the ground and 49 yards on three catches with no touchdowns in a 33-14 win.
Vanden, which is currently a game behind first place Foothill in the CVC, put an average of 41.6 points on the board to win three straight.
While Dean is the Vikings’ biggest weapon, he’s not the only one they possess.
Senior quarterback Kris Battle (6-1, 215) has thrown for a league-leading 790 yards on 37-of-72 passing with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions.
He’s also seventh on the team in tackles with 29 and has recovered a team-high three fumbles.
Senior running backs Phillip Thomas (6-2, 185) and Chris Hurst (6-2, 215), who have combined for 263 yards on 31 carries, but no touchdowns this year, will try to keep the Bruin defense from keying solely on Dean.
When Battle goes to the air, he’s got plenty of targets.
Lareylle Cunningham (6-4, 170) is second behind Dean in total receiving yards with six catches for 157 yards.
Thomas has 100 yards on five catches and Greg Gilliam (6-0, 175) has three catches for 76 yards.
“They’re a lot like Mesa Verde, they’re very athletic,” Savoie added.
The Vikings defense is led by its linebackers.
Senior Phillip Hodge (6-2, 180) has a team-high 52 tackles with a pair of sacks. Rudy Sylvan (6-5, 260) has 47 tackles and Hurst is right behind with 42 tackles.
“They’ve got a great tradition. I’ve read they’ve qualified for the playoffs nine straight years,” Savoie said. “But we would like to send a message to them and their league that the Pioneer Valley League has pretty good football teams too.”
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