PREP FOOTBALL: Bruins look to continue tradition of gridiron excellence
For the past three decades, the Bear River football team has been a beacon of gridiron success.
The small school power is a testament to what can be accomplished when coaches, players and the surrounding community commits wholeheartedly to a common goal.
Under the guidance of longtime co-head coaches Terry Logue and Scott Savoie, the program has cultivated a culture of winning and doing so with class.
“A tradition of excellence” is the phrase emblazoned across the Bruins’ practice jerseys and written in large lettering on the team’s website. It aptly describes Bear River High School football and it’s why so many young gridders grow up dreaming of playing on Friday nights for the Bruins.
“I’ve been playing Bear River football since I was 7 years old, with the Junior Bruins,” said junior offensive and defensive lineman Warren Davis. “It’s meant everything to me.”
Tre Maronic, a senior now in his third year on the varsity team, said his experience in the program has benefited him in many ways.
“Coach Logue and coach Savoie, and all the other coaches, have helped me become a better player and a better man,” he said. “They’ve helped me become a better overall person.”
At the foundation of the tradition of excellence are Savoie and Logue, who built a program which has produced three Sac-Joaquin Section titles (1994, 2014, 2017) and experienced just one losing season (2016) since 1987.
As for what has made the longtime friends and coaching companions so successful, “First of all, we both believe in a lot of the same work ethics, what we expect from the kids and what we want them to learn from the experience,” said Logue. “The other thing is your egos have to match up a little bit. Scott and I have always worked well together. There’s things that I don’t like to do, and vice versa, and in the long run I think we’ve made each other’s lives easier.”
Savoie added, “Part of coaching is the camaraderie. It’s fun to coach with people you like. We’ve been together 25 years now … We enjoy being around each other, having fun and coaching kids.”
The last five seasons have been some of the most prosperous in Bear River history. The Bruins have reached the section’s division V championship game four times and brought home the crown twice. Making the recent run all the more impressive, is the Bruins get it done with rosters which hover just above 20 players.
This season is no different, and neither are Savoie and Logue’s expectations.
“I expect them to be a typical Bear River football team,” Savoie said. “We’re going to play good defense, our kids are going to be tough and they’re going to battle until the end. As a coach you can’t ask for too much more than that, and that’s what we’re expecting to see out of them.”
Logue added, “no matter what’s happening, the kids are going to play hard. They will knock you down, then stick their hand out to help you up. They will play with class and dignity, and represent our community.”
The team’s first opportunity to represent the community will be Friday night at J. David Ramsey Stadium, when the Bruins host the Truckee Wolverines in the season opener for both teams.
A season after going 11-2 and falling to rival Colfax in the section title game, the Bruins will once again be looking to claw their way into the postseason, a place they have thrived the past half decade.
“To me the number one goal is to try and make the playoffs,” said Logue. “It would be nice to win a league championship, but with a young team, right now, I’d love to make the playoffs with this group. It’s pretty amazing to look at what has happened the past five years. Ever since they put us in a division with schools our own size, things have been pretty good.”
The Bruins graduated a lot of talent from last season’s team, but return prolific players in Maronic and Colton Jenkins, both of whom will be called upon to run, throw and catch the ball on offense.
Maronic was an All-Pioneer Valley League selection at running back a season ago and an all-leaguer as a cornerback as a sophomore. Through his first two varsity seasons, Maronic has played in 27 games, tallied 2,432 yards from scrimmage and scored 27 touchdowns on offense. Maronic moves to the quarterback position this season, taking over an offense that scored a school record 527 points last season.
Jenkins, a talented athlete who earned all-league honors as a safety last season, will also see time at quarterback and running back for the Bruins. He, along with Maronic, will also head the Bear River secondary this season.
After a 2018 season in which the Bruins outscored their opponents by an average of 26.6 points per game, Jenkins knows the Bruins will have a target on their backs. He said he’s excited for the challenge.
“Teams are trying to beat us because of our reputation,” Jenkins said. “So, there’s going to be a lot more high-intensity games. People want to be able to say they beat Bear River.”
Anchoring the offensive and defensive lines will be returning starters Davis and Caleb Hurst.
Davis said he likes the aggression the Bear River defense has shown this summer, and has a personal goal of breaking the school sack record. But, most of all, he’s looking forward to lining up on Friday nights with his teammates.
“What I’m most excited about is developing that family bond like we had last year,” he said. “You have to be super close, like a family and it’s great.”
With the roster numbers being what they are, several Bruins will play on both sides of the ball. Up and coming players poised to contribute in major ways include Jacob Ayestaran (RB, LB), Tyler Dzioba (TE, LB), Zach Fink (RB, NG), Gavin Jackson (TE, LB), Ryder Kiggins (FB, LB), Logan Siller (RB, DB), Waylon Spence (TE, LB), Jaime Vargas (FB, DL) and Justice Humble (OL, DL).
The Bruins’ non-league schedule is a favorable one with three home games and two on the road. They are also facing four teams they beat by large margins a season ago.
The PVL season will likely be a much more daunting task as last year’s league champ Colfax, Center and Foothill will all be forces to be reckoned with. Savoie said he expects league foes Marysville and Lindhurst to be improved as well.
As for the key to success this season.
“Staying healthy,” said Savoie.
“No doubt about it,” added Logue.
Friday’s home opener against Truckee has a 7:30 p.m. kickoff time, and will follow the junior varsity game, which is scheduled to get going at 5:15 p.m.
vs. Truckee, 7:30 p.m., Friday
at El Dorado, 7:30 p.m., Aug. 30
vs. Pershing County, 7 p.m., Sept. 6
vs. Liberty Ranch, 7:30 p.m., Sept. 13
at Encina Prep, 11 a.m., Sept. 21
at Center, 7:30 p.m., Oct. 4
at Lindhurst, 7 p.m., Oct. 11
at Foothill, 7:30 p.m., Oct. 18
vs. Colfax, 7 p.m., Oct. 25
vs. Marysville, 7:30 p.m., Nov. 1
-Game times subject to change.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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