Gridiron grind: Breaking down Bear River’s fall football schedule
New season. New co-head coaches. Same expectations.
“I’ve been in the program for 18 years and my expectations are the same as they’ve been every other year,” said Tanner Mathias, a former Bear River football player and assistant coach who was hired as co-head coach of the varsity program in May. “I expect to be physical. I expect to be well disciplined. I expect our guys to knock kids down and pick them back up. I expect them to be good students and good examples for people around them. I expect us to win a lot of games. And, I expect us to make the playoffs and hopefully be playing through Thanksgiving.”
After decades of success under the leadership of now retired Terry Logue and Scott Savoie, the Bruins enter a new era on the gridiron with Mathias and Mike Profumo stepping into the co-head coaching roles.
“I’m super excited to do this with Tanner and keep up the tradition here,” Profumo said in May. “Bear River is a really special school and a really special place. And, the football program is a special thing. It’s an honor to be a part of that legacy.”
Bear River is coming off a COVID-adjusted spring season in which they went 2-3, with wins over Foresthill and Western Sierra, and losses to Nevada Union, Truckee and Colfax.
The Bruins, along with the rest of the prep football teams in the Sac-Joaquin Section, are currently in a “dead period,” but that ends Monday when teams are allowed to hold their first official practice of the fall football season. It’s a quick turnaround from there as the Bruins are scheduled to face off with Nevada Union at Hooper Stadium for a scrimmage Aug. 14 and officially kickoff the regular season grind Aug. 21 at Truckee.
With the season opener less than a month away we take a look at the Bruins’ 2021 game schedule.
GAME 1: BEAR RIVER AT TRUCKEE, AUG. 21
The Bruins open the season with a Saturday road game. They will travel across the county to face the Truckee Wolverines, a team that hammered them, 36-0, in the 2021 spring season. Bear River got the best of Truckee in 2019, winning 21-7.
The Wolverines are coming off a 2021 spring season in which they went 3-2 with wins over Bear River, Galena and Union Mine, and losses to Sutter and Colfax.
“They play really hard, good football,” Mathias said of Truckee. “They have a coach that I look up to, and being around them more is going to make us better as coaches and as a team, and it doesn’t hurt that they are in our county.”
GAME 2: BEAR RIVER AT EL DORADO, AUG. 27
Bear River’s second contest of the season is against the El Dorado Cougars, a familiar foe and former league combatant.
The Bruins have faced off with El Dorado eight times since 2006 and have won all eight games, four times in league play (2006-2009) and four times in non-league bouts (2016-2019).
The Cougars are coming off a 2021 spring season in which they went 3-0 with wins over Laguna Creek, Liberty Ranch and Union Mine.
GAME 3: BEAR RIVER AT LIBERTY RANCH, SEPT. 10
The Bruins make it three straight road games to start the season when they head to Galt to face the Liberty Ranch Hawks.
The Hawks are coming off a 1-3 run during the 2021 spring season, beating Galt and losing to El Dorado, Union Mine and Argonaut.
The Bruins and Hawks faced off in non-league play in 2018 and 2019, with Bear River winning both times by large margins.
GAME 4: BEAR RIVER VS. JUSTIN-SIENA, SEPT. 17
Bear River’s home opener comes nearly a month into the season when they host the Justin-Siena Braves (Napa).
Justin-Siena went 3-3 during the 2021 spring season with wins over Petaluma, Sonoma Valley and St. Vincent de Paul, and losses to Napa, Vintage and American Canyon.
GAME 5: BEAR RIVER VS. LUTHER BURBANK, SEPT. 24
The Bruins close out their non-league slate with a home game against an unfamiliar foe in the Luther Burbank Titans (Sacramento).
Burbank played just two games in the 2021 spring season, going 0-2 with losses to Union Mine and Casa Roble.
GAME 6: BEAR RIVER AT MARYSVILLE, OCT. 1
Bear River kicks off Pioneer Valley League play on the road against the Marysville Indians.
“Marysville is always one of the most physical teams we play all season,” said Mathias.
The Bruins and Marysville have faced off four times since 2016, with Bear River holding a 3-1 edge, including two wins in a row as league foes. Marysville joined the PVL in 2018.
GAME 7: BEAR RIVER VS. CENTER, OCT. 8
The Bruins welcome the Center Cougars to J. David Ramsey Stadium for their league home opener.
Since 2010, Bear River and Center have met on the gridiron 11 times with the Cougars holding a slight, 6-5, edge. The Bruins have won three of the last four meetings, including a 2018 playoff game, but Center won big in 2019.
“Center is going to be athletic, fast, physical and well coached,” said Mathias. “They got talented kids and they know how to use them.”
In the 2021 spring season, Center went 1-3 with a win over Foothill, and losses to Colfax, Capital Christian and Casa Roble.
GAME 8: BEAR RIVER VS. LINDHURST, OCT. 15
Bear River is at home for a second straight week to host the Lindhurst Blazers, a team that has struggled since joining the PVL in 2018.
Lindhurst is 0-10 in league play since being placed in the league, including a pair of lopsided losses to the Bruins.
GAME 9: BEAR RIVER VS. FOOTHILL, OCT. 22
The Bruins close out their three-game homestand with a very familiar opponent in the Foothill Mustangs.
These two teams have faced off 10 times since 2010, with the Bruins winning nine in a row until Foothill snapped that streak in 2019.
Foothill went 2-2 in the 2021 spring season with wins over Natomas and Mesa Verde, and losses to Center and Del Campo.
GAME 10: BEAR RIVER AT COLFAX, OCT. 29
The regular season comes to a close with a rivalry bout against the Colfax Falcons.
Colfax has been on top of this rivalry in recent years, winning four straight, including the 2018 Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 Championship bout.
Going back to 2010, the Bruins and Falcons have met up 14 times, three of which were with the Section’s D5 title on the line. Colfax has a 9-5 advantage across those 14 games, but the Bruins hold a 2-1 edge in title games.
“That’s the goal every year, to beat Colfax,” said Mathias.
Colfax is coming off a 3-0 run during the 2021 spring season, including wins over Bear River, Center and Truckee.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email email@example.com
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With a balanced offensive attack and a strong defensive effort, the Nevada Union football team went on the road Friday night and knocked off Napa, 33-14.