The Bruin way: Bear River football opens season Saturday at Truckee
Hard working, hard hitting, dedicated to getting better everyday and committed to excellence. That’s the Bruin way, and that’s what first year co-head coaches Mike Profumo and Tanner Mathias have seen from their players during the summer months.
“The commitment level we have from the kids, coming off a crazy season like we had last year, has been really high,” said Profumo. “The kids are buying in and working hard.”
Mathias, a former Bear River player, said the expectations at Bear River don’t change.
“I’ve been in the program 18 years and my expectations are the same as they’ve been every other year,” Mathias said during a July interview. “I expect to be physical, I expect to be well disciplined. I expect our guys to knock kids down and pick them back up. I expect them to be good students and good examples for people around them. I expect us to win a lot of games, and I expect us to make the playoffs and hopefully be playing through Thanksgiving.”
As the Bruins begin the post Terry Logue/Scott Savoie era, they do so with a young team headed by a handful of senior leaders.
“It’s a young team, but we’re developing really quick,” said senior fullback Ryder Kiggins. “We’re going to come together as a team, and I think this season is going to be our season.”
BETWEEN THE LINES
Bear River is well known for their highly successful ground-and-pound run game on offense. The Bruins play a bruising style in which they hammer their opponents over and over with several different ball carriers.
Kiggins, a three-year varsity starter, has proven he’s built from that mold.
“He’s a physical leader,” said Mathias. “He’s a rock, who runs the ball hard and we rally behind his energy. He brings a spark to our offense that nobody else brings, and his physicality with the ball is something that has been important to Bear River, and he carries on that tradition.”
Kiggins will be joined in the backfield by juniors Anders Torgerson and Joey Knox, who will both likely get plenty of touches.
“I feel like what we do well is pounding the ball,” said Profumo, who will be handling the offensive play calling this season. “Our passing game is making some good progress as well. We still have a lot of work to do, but it’s progressing along.”
Under center this season will be 6-foot, 2-inch senior Gino Lorenzo, a second year varsity player who split time at quarterback during the 2021 spring season.
“Gino is coming along great,” Profumo said. “He’s really starting to pick things up, get his reads down and understand the offense.”
In the trenches, the Bear River offensive line is anchored by senior tackle Ben Christmon and sophomore guard Bradley Eaton.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bruins are known for their ferocious, swarming style of defense.
This year, they are led by a talented hybrid player in Ryder Holcomb, a senior who will line up all over the field this season.
Mathias spoke highly of his team’s defensive effort after Saturday’s scrimmage with Nevada Union.
“I love that we’re all swarming to the ball,” he said. “I also love that we can sub, and the second string guys are making plays.”
Torgerson will also be counted on to be a leader on defense from his linebacker position, and Knox is expected to be a game changer in the secondary.
The Bruins open their 2021 campaign with a road game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday against the Truckee Wolverines.
Truckee topped Bear River, 36-0, in the 2021 spring season. Bear River got the best of Truckee in 2019, winning 21-7.
The Wolverines are coming off a spring season in which they went 3-2 with wins over Bear River, Galena and Union Mine, and losses to Sutter and Colfax.
“They play really hard, good football,” Mathias said of Truckee. “They have a coach that I look up to, and being around them more is going to make us better as coaches and as a team, and it doesn’t hurt that they are in our county.”
The Bruins also face El Dorado (Aug. 27), Liberty Ranch (Sept. 10), Justin-Siena (Sept. 17) and Luther Burbank (Sept. 24) in non-league play.
Bear River kicks off Pioneer Valley League play against Marysville (Oct. 1). That is followed by league games against Center (Oct. 8), Lindhurst (Oct. 15), Foothill (Oct. 22) and Colfax (Oct. 29).
Profumo said he’s been impressed by the dedication and positivity from his players throughout the summer practice sessions.
“They’re just great kids, that really want to be here,” he said. “We don’t have anybody that has a bad attitude. It just feels like they love being there. They love football, they love playing everyday. It’s just a pleasure to coach them.”
The Bear River program has been very successful in recent years, making the playoffs five times since 2014, including four trips to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship game, which they won twice (2014, 2017).
Kiggins said 2021 could be another special year.
“I think we can go undefeated,” he said. “We have a lot of star players, and our lineman continue to get better.”
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Aug. 21 – Bear River at Truckee, 1:30 p.m. (JV starts at 11 a.m.)
Aug. 27 – Bear River at El Dorado, 7:30 p.m. (JV starts at 5:15 p.m.)
Sept. 3 – Bye
Sept. 10 – Bear River at Liberty Ranch, 7:30 p.m. (JV starts at 5:30 p.m.)
Sept. 17 – Bear River vs. Justin-Siena, 7:15 p.m. (JV starts at 5:15 p.m.)
Sept. 24 – Bear River vs. Luther Burbank, 7:15 p.m. (JV starts at 5:15 p.m.)
*Oct. 1 – Bear River at Marysville, 7:15 p.m. (JV starts at 5:15 p.m.)
*Oct. 8 – Bear River vs. Center, 7:15 p.m. (JV starts at 5:15 p.m.)
*Oct. 15 Bear River vs. Lindhurst, 7:15 p.m. (JV starts at 5:15 p.m.)
*Oct. 22 Bear River vs. Foothill, 7:15 p.m. (JV starts at 5:15 p.m.)
*Oct. 29 Bear River at Colfax, 7:15 p.m. (JV starts at 5:15 p.m.)
*Denotes Pioneer Valley League game
Game times subject to change
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