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Bruins bring it in "Battle"

Bear River tops Hug in showcase game
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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For Scott Savoie the Battle at the Capital was more than just another football showcase game. As the Bear River High football coach watched his team bury Procter R. Hug from Reno, Nev. 42-13, the cause of the grid iron game’s campaign — honoring wounded veterans — resonated deep within him. Coaching by Savoie’s side was his son Landon, a University of Nevada, Reno graduate, who will be leaving for U.S. Navy boot camp in January. “We feel honored from a personal perspective to be able to play this game,” Savoie said. “I don’t know if you can play for a better reason than for our wounded warriors.” With a fire in their bellies, the Bruins came out strong right from the start. Senior quarterback James Harris, who completed 13 of 18 attempts, sailed in for a touchdown just minutes in. That set the tone for the Bruins assault in the second quarter. Hug wide receiver Craven Colletti Melvin swooped on a Bruins pass for a touchdown in the second quarter. Bear River stepped it up, looking to put a stop to a charge by Hug. Leading the assault was running back DeVaughn Lofton. Lofton scored two touchdowns before the half, putting the momentum in Bear River’s favor. Savoie said Lofton made a different kind of debut at the Battle, with a few factors being key. “Devaughn Lofton had a very big day. He’s kind of been hiding. Josh (Toft) was our 1000-yard wide receiver,” Savoie said. “I think a year of growth and he has great speed. Now he has a lot of confidence to go with that speed.” Senior Josh Toft went in for a touchdown on a pass from Harris, bringing the score to 28-7 at halftime. Solidifying the Bruins lead was a persistent Michael Raigoza. Raigoza kept going for the points, even after two successive penalty calls against Bear River made his touchdowns no good. The third time was the charm for a triumphant Raigoza, who made a short, but efficient dash for it. Raigoza also led with 4 tackles. Junior Cody Heard served up something to talk about, a 43-yard interception for a touchdown. As did Hawk running back Jonathan Watson, who put his feet to work in the 4th quarter with an 83-yard touchdown dash. Heard, who first started playing football as a Junior Bruin 10 years ago, said the Bruins win wasn’t for lack of substantial competition. “I don’t even have words to explain it. It was one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever had,” Heard said of his touchdown. “They fought the entire time. They never gave up.” Savoie said he has been in contact with Hug coach Derek Bennett since last March when the two teams decided to play each other. The Hawks were missing some key players due to injury, according to Savoie. “My kids have a lot of respect for them. They were playing without their starting quarterback and their back-up quarterback got hurt last week. They were basically playing with their third-string quarterback. They only have about 22 to 23 kids on their roster,” Savoie said. “It’s one thing to win. It is even better when you have respect for the people you are playing.” Bear River had 129 passing yards, all at the hands of Harris and 220 receiving yards, led by Harley Sauers, with 67 yards. Watching from the sidelines was Golden Sierra coach John Hilton. Hilton was on the coaching staff for Bear River before fulfilling his aspirations of being a head coach. The Grizzlies (2-0) will be the Bruins (2-0) next match-up. Savoie said while the “Battle of the Bears” isn’t a league the game, the nearby schools place big importance on it each year. “We play for a trophy,” Savoie said. “It’s a big game for our kids. Last year we came back within to win within the last seconds.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com. For the latest in Journal Sports follow us on twitter @PlacerSports. Score by quarter: BR 6 28 28 42 Hug 0 7 7 14