3A high school football preview: Bear River at Wasatch

By Andy Sorensen

Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24 2012 11:50 a.m. MDT

Bear River (6-4) at Wasatch (7-2)

3A state tournament first round

Friday, 5 p.m.

Parry's Power Guide: Wasatch by 2

All-time series: Bear River leads 6-2

Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Bear River's Chris Wise and Wasatch's Steve Coburn

Last meeting: Nov. 6, 2009 (3A quarterfinal) — Wasatch 48, Bear River 32

In the first round of the 3A playoffs on Friday, one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the state, James Delacenserie, will be competing to earn his first playoff win as a starting quarterback as he and Wasatch host visiting Bear River.

Delacenserie, who started his prep career at Judge Memorial before transferring to Wasatch, has had an outstanding career and his senior year has been no exception.

The 2012 season has been a productive one for Delacenserie, having thrown for 2,530 yards and 34 touchdowns while leading his team to eight wins. He easily leads the 3A in passing yards and passing touchdowns has led his team to nearly 40 points per game in its victories.

The Wasps are favored to win but first-year coach Steve Coburn is not letting his team get ahead of themselves.

"We just need to keep our heads down and go to work," Coburn explained. "We still got to play and we have to play at a high level."

But the Bears have improved greatly since last year and are not going to make it easy for the Wasps. Bear River has a force of its own in dual-threat quarterback Kyle Zundel. He has passed for 1,626 yards and rushed for 628 more, while throwing for 19 touchdowns and running for eight.

Additionally, Bear River enters the game with a solid defense that earned a shutout victory against a Grantsville, which scored 26 points to defeat Wasatch earlier in the year.

Bear River coach Chris Wise feels confident about his team and knows that they will give Wasatch a run for its money.

"I'm impressed with this team," Wise said. "We keep progressing and keep getting better. I feel pretty good about our team and if we play our best game it is going to be a great matchup."

As for defending Delacenserie, Wise acknowledges that it will be a challenge.

"(Delacenserie)'s going to get his completions, but we're going to try to contain him and not let him get the ball by keeping it as long as we can," Wise explained.

Since winning the state title in 2006, Bear River has only won one playoff game and is looking to break that trend. Wasatch, on the other hand, has been a perennial contender in 3A but was easily defeated 42-7 in the first round of the playoffs last year by Hurricane. It is looking to redeem itself.

The situation this year is a bit different for Wasatch, however, as last year its first-round opponent was the No.1-ranked team in 3A that went on to win the 3A championship.

This year, the Wasps tried to put themselves in position so that they would not be matched up with a top-ranked team.

"We're excited to be in this situation," Coburn said. "We've worked for this all year long."

Bear River statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 30.3 ppg

Scoring defense: 19.8 ppg

Passing leader: Kyle Zundel (106-205, 51.7%, 1,628 yards, 19 TDs, 10 INTs)

Rushing leaders: Kyle Zundel (115 carries, 683 yards, 8 TDs), Jeramie Selman (49 rec., 285 yards, 6 TDs)

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