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New ballgame for Bear River freshmen

Right around August every year, 13 and 14 year olds discover what life is like for those of us working two jobs – waking up with the roosters and going to bed with the bats.

Those people are high school freshmen getting their first taste of high school football. For Bear River freshmen, waking up an hour and a half earlier than they had the year before, when school started at 9 a.m., is just the beginning of a day-long stretch where demands are put on the football players unlike most experienced on the Magnolia flag football team.

For many of the players, it’s a small price to pay to play the new American pastime. For Drew Loftus, one of two Bear River quarterbacks, football and homework are just about it in his young life right now.



“After I get home from football I just do my homework,” he said. His homework normally takes him up to the time for sleep, he continued, but to be part of an up-and-coming tradition it’s nothing he wouldn’t do again.

It’s nothing new to Bear River coach Dick Werntz, who has been coaching the frosh squad on and off for 10 years.




“It’s a difficult transition for them,” Werntz said. “When school starts at 7:30 and they have football practice until 5:30 at night, the fatigue factor is difficult for them.”

As for the upcoming seasons, which officially begin with a 4:30 p.m. scrimmage today at Nevada Union – and the team’s first game a week later at home against Center – Werntz expects a similar result to last season, when his Bruins closed the season in third place in Pioneer Valley League play with a 6-4 record.

With a roster of 30 players, a relatively small roster as far as freshmen teams, it’s going to take a lot of maturing, Werntz said, especially due to the fact that about half of his players have no full-contact experience.

For Werntz, who has experience coaching at different levels and has led several Bruin squads to league championships, his approach to the freshmen level is a patient one.

“The freshmen need a lot of encouragement and a lot of reassurance,” he said. “I think you have to bring them along slowly.”

Bear River Freshmen

2004 season schedule

9/9 vs. Center 5:30 p.m.

9/16 @ Woodcreek 5:30 p.m.

9/23 @ Pleasant Valley 5:30 p.m.

9/30 vs. Oakmont 5:30 p.m.

10/7 @ Lincoln 5:30 p.m.

10/14 @ El Camino 5:30 p.m.

10/21 vs. Del Campo 5:30 p.m.

10/28 vs. Mesa Verde 5:30 p.m.

11/4 vs. Rio Linda 5:30 p.m.

11/11 @ Colfax 5:30 p.m.


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