PREP FOOTBALL: Miners in playoffs for 1st time since 2012; Bruins to host opening round game
FIRST ROUND bouts
No. 9 Nevada Union at No. 8 Vanden, 7 p.m., Friday
No. 7 Bear River vs. No. 10 Highlands, 7 p.m., Friday
The Miners are back for the first time in awhile. The Bruins are back for more.
The prep football playoff brackets were released Sunday afternoon and the teams from Nevada Union and Bear River will both continue their respective quests for a Sac-Joaquin Section championship.
The Miners (5-5) landed the No. 9 seed in the Section’s Division 4 bracket and will travel to face No. 8 Vanden (5-5) at 7 p.m. Friday. It will be Nevada Union’s first postseason appearance since 2012.
The Bruins (7-3) are the No. 7 seed in D6 and will host No. 10 Highlands (8-2) at 7 p.m. Friday at J. David Ramsey Stadium.
“From here on out it’s win or go home,” Bear River co-head coach Terry Logue told The Union after his team’s 31-6 win over Marysville last Friday. “We’re kind of used to that around here. It was a great game, great way to finish the regular season at home. We’ll get some sophomores up next week and fill out the practice roster.”
The Bruins roar into the playoffs after a dominant win over Marysville in which they got standout performances from their sophomore fullbacks Ryder Kiggins (136 rush yards, TD) and Jaime Vargas (82 rush yards, 2 TDs). Bear River also got a boost from senior Tre Maronic, who returned from an injury and immediately made his presence known with a 35-yard pick six in the first quarter.
“To me, the win (Friday night) is so important,” Bear River co-head coach Scott Savoie said. “Just felt like we really needed that to roll into the playoffs. Over the last five years, five-six years, Bear River gets in the playoffs and good things happen. So we could be going for awhile here or we could be done next week, but I really felt like this game kind of set the stage for, I’m hoping, what happens over the next few weeks. We’ll see what happens.”
Highlands enters the playoffs after placing third in the Sierra Delta League. The Scots are led by senior quarterback Chrichion Brown (2,268 pass yards, 31 pass TDs, 10 Ints).
The Bruins had been battling it out in D5 in recent years, winning Section championships in 2014 and 2017, and reaching the D5 title game in 2015 and 2018. But due to their enrollment, they landed in D6 this postseason.
The last time the Miners were in the playoffs they were the No. 16 seed in D1 after a 5-5 campaign in 2012. Seven seasons later, the Miners will compete in the D4 bracket after a 5-5 overall mark.
The Miners dig into the playoffs on the heels of a, 42-0, blowout loss to Rio Linda, who garnered the No. 1 seed in D4 and would host the Miners if NU wins its first round bout against Vanden.
“One of the things we have to do this week is go back to basics, really breakdown what we’re not doing well and fix those things,” NU head coach Brad Sparks said after the game Friday night. “We’re going to have to make some adjustments and get ready to play whoever we’re playing.”
Vanden (Fairfield) comes into the playoffs after taking second place in the Monticello Empire League. The Vikings opened the season with three straight losses, but closed it with three straight wins, including victories over Fairfield (56-0), Wood (21-7) and Rodriguez (42-10). The only common opponent between the Miners and Vikings is Fairfield, which NU blasted, 64-0.
The Miners join every other team from the Foothill Valley League in the playoffs. League champ Placer (8-2, 5-0) is the No. 2 seed in D3. Second place Rio Linda (8-2, 4-1) is the No. 1 seed in D4. Third place Ponderosa (5-5, 2-3) is the No. 8 seed in D3, fourth place Lincoln (5-5, 2-3) is the No. 8 seed in D2 and fifth place Oakmont (6-4, 1-4) is the No. 11 seed in D2.
Bear River is one of four teams from the Pioneer Valley League to get a playoff nod. League champ Center (10, 5-0) is the No. 1 seed in D5, Colfax (7-3, 4-1) is the No. 9 seed in D5 and Foothill is the No. 10 seed in D5.
For a complete brackets for each division visit http://www.cifsjs.org.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4232. Brian Shepard contributed to this article.
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It was a wild one at Hooper Stadium Friday night.