GARLAND -- After spending most of last year battling through inconsistencies and injuries, Bear River head coach Chris Wise is hoping for a different outcome with this group of players.
"We played three different quarterbacks last year and our depth wasn't even close to what we needed to be successful," Wise said. "We'll never be super deep at a bunch of positions, but injuries killed our chances to be good in what I consider to be a great league with some great players and great coaches.
"This year, we are hoping to stay injury free and utilize our skill players to win games this season. I've always felt that this league is a good one with coaches and communities that really care about what is going on in regards to football. We'll change a couple of things on offense, but for the most part, we want to get back to winning games."
Leading the offense this year will be senior signal caller Kyle Zundel, who started the last three games of the season last year and is primed to make sure that the Bears find themselves in the playoffs this year.
"He's a great passer on the move and we really need to take advantage of his running ability in order to have some success," Wise said. "Putting him in the pistol allows for us to not have to change blocking schemes as much and let's us take advantage of what we can do instead of what we are forced to do."
Because of the make up of the team, the Bears are switching to a pistol formation that is being used currently at Utah State so that Zundel and the skill position players can make those plays to move the ball effectively."
If Zundel doesn't keep the ball, he will be handing the ball off to the likes of juniors Taylor Lund and Jeremie Selman. Both played last year and their experience will take some of the pressure off of Bear River to run the ball. The best part of the offense could be with two returning, big time receivers in Wade Miller and Garrett Fronk. Each has the potential to make huge plays in the passing game and both will be counted on heavily to play both ways to bolster each side of the ball.
The offensive line could be the deciding factor in the offensive success of the Bears. The line will be led by returning starters Justus Wise and Braxton Fonnesbeck and they will get help from sophomore Carson Gibbs as well as senior Kaden Francis and junior Braden Pugsley.
Miller and Fronk will lead the team defensively from a linebacker and a safety spot, but returning strong safety Tyler Rasmussen should provide some leadership in getting players in the right spot on defense to create turnovers and get the ball back for the offense.
Up front, nose tackle Christian Lemus and defensive end Brock Hill will try to keep the opposing team busy while Austin Miller and Dallin Bergman will hold down the other linebacking spots.
"The boys are working their tails off and doing whatever we ask of them," Wise said. "We need to stay healthy this year or it's not going to be a good year. We already have a couple of concussions to deal with, so it's important that we keep everyone going and make sure that we are ready to compete on Friday nights."