Bear River (7-4) at Desert Hills (7-3)
3A state tournament quarterfinal
Friday, 5 p.m.
Parry’s Power Guide: Desert Hills by 24
All-time series: Desert Hills leads Bear River, 1-0
Last meeting: Oct. 30, 2010 (3A first round) — Desert Hills 15, Bear River 14 (OT)
The Bear River football team is treating its upcoming road trip to Desert Hills like a business trip.
“That’s exactly what it is,” said Bear River coach Chris Wise. “We will take our time getting down there, keep it as normal as we can to keep focus — just like any other away game.”
The Bears are headed south for the 3A quarterfinals after defeating Wasatch, 36-6, in the first round of the playoffs last weekend.
Kyle Zundel sparked the Bears in that victory, accumulating 283 total yards and three touchdowns.
“Kyle was outstanding in that game,” Wise said. “He stepped up big time.”
The coach added, “A lot of that was because of Jeramie Selman. Teams have to respect him.”
Selman added another 164 yards and a touchdown in the win over Wasatch, and the Bears are leaning on him as they turn their focus to the Thunder.
“We know they are a strong team,” Wise said of Desert Hills. “We know they bring a lot of heat defensively, that we have to be prepared for the blitz.”
At the same time, the Thunder is getting ready for what it anticipates will be a very hard-hitting contest.
“I feel it will be a very physical game,” said Desert Hills coach Carl Franke. “We are getting prepared for a hard-fought battle in the trenches.”
The Thunder is coming off a one-sided victory over Payson, 48-21, and is led by the play of Ty Rutledge.
“Ty has been playing fantastic for us all year,” Franke said of the senior quarterback. “He has been doing a great job for us on both sides of the ball. He is someone we rely on heavily for our offense.”
In front of Rutledge is an offensive line of underclassmen.
“We start two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman,” Franke said, “and they have played well with that youth.”
The Desert Hills defense has allowed the fewest points in the region, and Franke attributed it to the caliber of the Region 9 foes. One game in particular — the triple overtime win over Hurricane — taught the Thunder lessons that carry over into tournament play.
“We came away from that game knowing that if we keep battling, if we keep pushing through adversity, good things will happen,” Franke said.
“Bear River has our full attention,” he added. “And we are just excited for an opportunity to play in this round.”
Bear River statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 30.8 ppg
Scoring defense: 18.5 ppg
Passing leader: Kyle Zundel (114-223, 51.1%, 1,723 yards, 19 TDs, 10 INTs)
Rushing leaders: Kyle Zundel (141 carries, 871 yards, 11 TDs), Jeramie Selman (70 carries, 449 yards, 7 TDs)
Tackles leaders: McKade Mitton (91 tackles), Broc Hill (82 tackles)
Sack leaders: Broc Hill (8 sacks), McKade Mitton (4.5 sacks)
Desert Hills statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 34.4 ppg
Scoring defense: 17.0 ppg
Passing leader: Ty Rutledge (93-181, 51.4%, 1,693 yards, 19 TDs, 10 INTs)
Rushing leaders: Ty Rutledge (139 carries, 1,024 yards, 13 TDs), Bridger Cowdin (121 carries, 725 yards, 8 TDs)
Sack leaders: Brian Highland (6.5 sacks)
Interception leaders: Jordan Hokanson (2 INTs)
Felt's Facts for Bear River High School
All-time record: 361-415-19 (91 years)
Region championships: 13 (1937, 1959, 1983, 1984, 1985 co, 1986 co, 1987, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2006)
Playoff appearances: 32 (including 2012)
All-time playoff record: 36-28
State championships: 3 (2003, 2004, 2006)
State championship record: 3-511 comments on this story
Felt’s Factoid(s): Bear River's 91 meetings with Box Elder makes the game the longest uninterrupted active rivalry in state history, having been played every season since 1923. The winner has taken home a traveling trophy, the Golden Spike, since 1959. ... BR recovered 10 fumbles — a state record — against Jordan in a 1981 Class 3A playoff game.
Felt’s Facts for Desert Hills High School
All-time record: 32-22 (5 years)
Region championships: 1 (2012 co)
Playoff appearances: 5 (including 2012)
All-time playoff record: 5-4
State championships: 0
State championship record: 0-1
Felt's Factoid(s): DH, 5 years old, is one of just three schools to make the playoffs every year of its history.
Sarah Thomas is a graduate of the University of Utah and has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.