Among those offensive returning starters is junior offensive lineman Branson Fonnesbeck. He’s one of at least three underclassmen who will start on the line along with sophomore Carson Gibbs and junior Justus Wise.
“The offensive line is young, but I’m excited about them as a group,” said Wise.
Bear River was in the bottom third in 3A last year in points allowed, but Wise expects his team to be more disciplined this year defensively because of some great leadership from Miller, Zundel and others.
Bear River Bears at a glance
Coach: Chris Wise is entering his 11th season as Bear River’s head coach, and he’s one of the longest-tenured coaches in school history. He’s amassed a 61-51 record along the way, including state titles in 2003, 2004 and 2006. He’s a graduate of Bear River High School.
(3 returning starters; Spread offense)
Year after year teams around the state make the switch to a spread offense, but it’s rarely a simple or smooth transition. Bear River is the latest to make the switch, and it’s counting on the athleticism of quarterback Kyle Zundel for a smooth transition. It’s unlikely he’ll like it up in the air, but he’s arguably Bear River’s best ball-carrier and could excel with the switch. Junior Jeremie Selman was Bear River’s second-leading rusher last year with 413 yards and four touchdowns, but he missed several summer functions with Bear River and only time will tell if he picks up the offense as quickly as his teammates.
(3 returning starters)
The three best teams Bear River faced last season were Logan, Stansbury and Morgan, and the Bears allowed 49, 37 and 48 points, respectively. That obviously wasn’t good enough last season, and it wouldn’t be good enough again this year. Miller and Zundel are offensive starters who will factor in the secondary. Dallin Bergman is a returning starter at linebacker, and someone coach Wise thinks very highly of heading into the 2012 season.
Coaches preseason Region 11 straw poll: Fourth
Deseret News Region 11 prediction: Fourth
Bottom line: Every team is optimistic this time of year, and with a new offense Bear River is right there with them. Realistically though, the Bears face an uphill climb. They were a middle of the pack offensive and defensive team last year, and those trends rarely change overnight. If coach Chris Wise’s team has any hope of competing for the Region 11 championship, Kyle Zundel will need to have a banner season at quarterback for the Bears.
Aug. 17 — NORTH SANPETE, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 — at Preston, Idaho 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 — BOX ELDER, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 — at Stansbury, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 — OGDEN, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 — at Ben Lomond, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 — at Morgan, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 — GRANTSVILLE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 — vs. Pine View, 3 p.m. (At Snow College)
Oct. 17 — TOOELE, 7 p.m.
Felt's Facts for Bear River High School
All-time record: 354-411-19 (90 years)
Region championships: 13 (1937, 1959, 1983, 1984, 1985 co, 1986 co, 1987, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2006)
Playoff appearances: 31
All-time playoff record: 35-28
State championships: 3 (2003, 2004, 2006)
State championship record: 3-5