Hart’s a hard hitter with a soft touch | TheUnion.com

Hart’s a hard hitter with a soft touch

John HartBear River's Brian Hart offers a big target for his quarterback. The 6-foot, 5-inch senior is a wide receiver.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Bryan Hart did his best impersonation of the Minnesota Vikings’ big play receiver Randy Moss in Bear River’s season opener with Center of Antelope two Fridays ago.

It was late in the second quarter, with the host Bruins up 14-7 and facing a first-and-10 on the Cougar 20-yard line.

The ball was snapped, and the 6-foot, 5-inch senior wide receiver went to work up the left sideline with a considerably shorter defender in tow.

The ball was in the air as he crossed the goal line, but the defensive back slid between Hart and the pigskin.

“All summer long, I saw I could jump over guys and make the catch, so I had the confidence to go for anything close,” Hart said.

The defender’s eyes got bigger as the ball moved closer.

Hart, pinned to the outside, elevated, then reached up and over the defender’s shoulder pads and turned what should have been an interception into an apparent touchdown.

“I wasn’t even looking where the defensive back was, I was just going for the ball. He got in my way, so I had to dive over him,” he said.

Hart made the catch, did a barrel roll, then came up right in front of a referee.

“I saw that I was in the end zone, and right after I got up, I was like, ‘Yes, touchdown!’. But I looked up and the ref was slapping the ground, saying no catch. I was like, ‘N

Hart, whose 17-yard catch first-quarter catch on fourth-and-five led to Bear River’s first touchdown, finished with 48 yards on four catches in the host’s 24-21 win.

“Obviously, his size is a huge bonus. His 6-foot, 5-inch frame is just a nice big target to throw at. And the other things that amaze me are his soft hands and ability to pick up yardage after the catch,” Bruin head coach Scott Savoie said.

Not bad for a kid whose last game of organized football was as a freshman.

“I’ve always loved playing football, the feeling of making a catch and the contact, but I play year-round baseball and I wanted to concentrate on that,” Hart said.

Hart, who turned 18 Friday, was born in Southern California, then moved to Grass Valley in 1996.

He played a season of football for Magnolia Intermediate School, then again as a freshman before he traded the gridiron for the baseball diamond.

Hart was named the junior varsity baseball team’s most valuable player as a sophomore, then moved up to the varsity the following spring where he moved in at shortstop .

He was knee deep in the baseball season when his friends on the football team applied the hard sell.

Savoie put in his two cents and Hart was sold.

“I’d been thinking about coming back. And because of my size, everybody was saying (the team could really use me at) receiver. Plus, I love the game,” Hart said.

“The key thing is he’s really enjoying himself out there. And it’s probably a nice change for him to get away from the diamond for a little while,” Savoie added.

The University of California-Davis baseball program has shown interest, but Hart is keeping his options open.

“I’ve been thinking about playing baseball in college ever since I’ve been in high school. But I don’t know what to expect from football,” he said. “I mean, you don’t hear about too many players coming out in their senior year and getting a scholarship. But if I got the chance to play football in college, I definitely would.”

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