PREP FOOTBALL: Bruins, Miners set to face tough league foes |

PREP FOOTBALL: Bruins, Miners set to face tough league foes

It’s a rivalry that dates back more than three decades. One rich in history, filled with spirited bouts which at times have determined league titles and section championships. It’s one of the fiercest gridiron feuds in the foothills.

It’s Bear River vs. Colfax.

The two Pioneer Valley League combatants are both barreling toward the playoffs as they reignite their rivalry today at Bear River’s J. David Ramsey Stadium.

As for the Nevada Union football Miners, they hit the road today to face a budding rival in Foothill Valley League foe Lincoln.

Here’s a breakdown of both games:

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Bear River vs. Colfax, 7 p.m., Friday

The Bear River Bruins (6-2, 1-2 PVL) are playing at home for the first time since mid-September and looking to get back on track after a 40-17 loss at Foothill last week.

The Colfax Falcons (6-2, 3-0 PVL) soar into the contest on a four game win streak, three of which came against league opponents (Lindhurst, Marysville and Foothill).

Colfax is averaging 28.6 points per game and allowing 19.4. Bear River is putting up 28 points per game this season and giving up 17.6.

The Falcons are led by senior quarterback Travyn Heimann (1,134 pass yards, 11 touchdowns, 5 interceptions). Colfax has a trio of play making receivers in John Beckman, Peter O’Brien and Juliono Martello.

Colfax also does damage on the ground, averaging 143.8 yards per game and accounting for 14 touchdowns this season.

“They have a sophisticated offense, and a they’re really good on defense. We’re going to have our hands full,” said Bear River co-head coach Scott Savoie.

Looking to slow the Falcons offense is a Bruins defense that has been downright dominant at times this season, but has taken some hits in recent weeks, allowing 40 points or more twice in the last three games.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Bruins are led by senior quarterback Colton Jenkins, who is 1-1 as a starter since filling in for the injured Tre Maronic.

“We’ve been very pleased with what he’s done,” said Savoie of Jenkins. “We’re really happy with his play on both sides of the ball and his leadership.”

Running backs Jacob Ayestaran, Ryder Kiggins, Zach Fink and Joe Knowlton have all seen their carries go up in recent weeks with Jenkins moving from running back to quarterback.

Bear River and Colfax’s rivalry dates back to 1986 and has featured 34 meetings, mostly in league play, but has also included three Sac-Joaquin Section championship games. The Falcons hold a 19-15 advantage in the series, including a double overtime win in last season’s Division V Section title game. Bear River won the previous championship game matchups in 2014 and 2017.

Tonight’s matchup is set for 7 p.m.

Elsewhere around the PVL, league leader Center (8-0, 3-0 PVL) faces off with Lindhurst (2-6, 0-3 PVL), and Foothill (5-3, 1-2 PVL) clashes with Marysville (3-5, 1-2 PVL).

Nevada Union at Lincoln, 7 p.m., FRIDAY

After winning their first league game since 2012 a week ago, the Miners (5-3,1-2 FVL) are looking to make it two in a row when they head to Lincoln to face the Fighting Zebras.

Coached by former Bear River JV skipper Chris Bean, Lincoln comes into the contest having lost two straight. After starting 4-2, including a 28-17 win over Oakmont to open league play, the Zebras have since dropped games to Ponderosa, 35-21, and Rio Linda, 28-14.

Lincoln is balanced in its offensive attack, averaging 159.5 yards through the air and 157.6 on the ground.

They are led by junior quarterback J.T. Willis (1,272 pass yards, 8 touchdowns, 6 interceptions), and a pair of running backs in Seth Sampson (362 rush yards, 8 total touchdowns) and Cache Peach (418 rush yards, 6 total touchdowns).

Lincoln spreads it out in the passing game as five different receivers have at least 10 catches this season. The receiving corps is led by junior Kyle Remigio (22 catches, 349 yards, 2 touchdowns).

Looking to contain the Fighting Zebras is a Miners’ defense coming off a brilliant defensive performance against Ponderosa.

NU’s secondary has shined all season and was especially good last week. After three interceptions against Ponderosa, the Miners now have 17 interceptions as a team this season. They have tallied at least one interception in seven straight games. Leading the pick parade has been A.J. Meyer (4 interceptions), Tino Sanchez-Lane (3 interceptions), Drake Schlacter (3 interceptions), Jaxon Horne (2 interceptions), Zach Ehrlich (2 interceptions).

The Miners also boast a fierce defensive pass rush which has led to 19 sacks, and playmaking linebackers in Duke Morales (70 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss) and Gabe Baker (58 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss).

Lincoln also has a productive pass rush which has tallied 27 sacks on the year. The Zebra rush is led by seniors Jacob Wagner (8.5 sacks) and Grady Manley (7 sacks).

Looking to break through the Lincoln defense is a NU offense which is averaging 214.9 rush yards, 84.9 pass yards and 35.9 points per game.

Leading the Miners’ attack has been Horne, who leads the team in rush yards (927), receiving yards (304) and total touchdowns (18).

The Miners and Zebras have been facing off annually for the past five seasons, with Lincoln leading the series 3-2. Four of the five games have been settled by less than seven points.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Lincoln High School.

Elsewhere in the FVL, league leader Placer (6-2, 3-0 FVL) faces off with Ponderosa (4-4, 1-2 FVL), and Rio Linda (6-2, 2-1 FVL) battles it out with Oakmont 6-2 (1-2 FVL).

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email or call 530-477-4232.

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