The coaches didn’t know what to do when it was over.
Bull rush the field in a slow, waddle of a gait and dog pile? Or watch everyone else do it and steer clear?
Finally, Terry Logue and Scott Savoie, old coaching salts and the best of friends, looked at each other decided to embrace. And laugh, and cry a bit.
The longtime Bear River High School football co-coaches basked in the joy of a championship they could not dare forecast just a month ago. The Bruins on Saturday afternoon edged rival Colfax 30-27 to win the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship in Elk Grove and will compete in a CIF Northern California Regional on Dec. 8 or 9.
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It’s the third section title for the plucky Bruins of Grass Valley and Lake of the Pines and second in three seasons. And winning doesn’t get old, even if the coaches do.
“We’re just a bunch of rag-tags,” Logue said with a mixture of laughter and tears. “This was the best championship. We’ve had great kids and great teams and great champions but this was something else. To be down to our last breath in Week 10, needing an overtime win to beat Center just to get into the playoffs, and to win this? Amazing.
“It’s tremendous for our kids, our school. We couldn’t be more proud. If anyone can get more out of kids than we can, I’d like to see it.”
Bear River (10-3) doesn’t have a cast of college recruits, but good luck finding a team that competes harder.
Luke Baggett had a 33-yard touchdown pass to Tre Maronic, and he scored on a 1-yard run for Bear River. Calder Kunde, dealing with a stomach muscle strain for weeks, scored on a 93-yard reverse, tip-toeing the Bear River sideline, sprung by a Baggett block.
And Austin Baze, the team’s barreling fullback who scored four times against Center just to extend the season, scored on 2-yard run with 5:25 left for a 30-21 lead and then sealed it with carries to run out the clock to beat a Falcons team that handled the Bruins 31-14 in October.
All of this from a team that went 3-7 last season, snapping a 28-year streak of non-losing seasons. And all of this from a pair of coaches who had fans urging their removal in recent years, deemed as out of touch.
“We’ve heard it all, the Facebook posts, and we’re still here,” Savoie said, eyeing Logue, who added, “we’ve tried to get fired more than once.”
Ryland Heimann had three touchdown passes for Colfax (9-4), including a 15-yarder to Jake Green with 3:38 to go. Mason Ahrens had two scores for the Falcons, in the playoffs for the 21st time under coach Tony Martello, who was in his ninth title game.