Big Bear looks to get back in the postseason

The first part of last year was a painful one for the Big Bear football team. The Bears – consistently one of the best smaller schools in the county – were breaking in a mostly-new offensive line and lost senior, Craig Hall, to a season-ending injury during a 1-5 start. But a 3-1 finish, plus a load of returning experience, has coach Dave Griffiths feeling pretty good about 2010.

“It’s a very positive outlook right now,” Griffiths said. “With the way we ended the season and the players we have coming back, we feel pretty good about where we are at. Last season didn’t start out too well, but we kept battling and fighting and we were really starting to put some things together. That’s what has us excited right now.”

The positions that were in question last year – quarterback and offensive line – seem to be on point as the Bears enter this season. Junior Zakk Planz, who was thrown into the mix after Hall was hurt, won three games down the stretch – including two in De Anza League play – and has the correct mix of mobility and headiness to join Hall and current Navy quarterback Kriss Proctor as quality Big Bear triggermen.

“You don’t have a rookie coming in, which helps a lot,” Griffiths said. “He’s a veteran now who knows the offense and knows how to execute it. You can remove that question with Zakk, who really did a great job filling in for Craig last year.”

The Big Bear offensive line, one that relies on mobility and technique more than size, along is coming back with experience. Seniors Rex Seaman, Cody McDonough and William Gaines will anchor the line, with McDonough at center and Gaines at tackle. Griffiths is also very high on junior Kyle McHolland, who will like be a starter on the defensive line as well.

Accompanying Planz in the backfield are senior slotbacks Tyler Westplat and Josh Borges. Both Westplat and Borges, who will also start in the secondary on defensive, will be used in a variety of ways, either in the backfield with Planz, in the slot or split out wide in the passing game. The fullback, a key runner for Big Bear, will likely be junior Harley Chlevik.

Chlevik will also be expected to be a tackling machine at middle linebacker, with Seaman and Jimmy Cast flanking outside of him. Big Bear’s roster size will be a little small this season, with numbers in the high 20s, so the majority of their players will play both ways.

Big Bear 2010 schedule (Home games in CAPS, * indicates league game)

Sept. 4 – PASADENA MARANATHA
Sept. 11 – ARCADIA RIO HONDO PREP
Sept. 18 – ARROWHEAD CHRISTIAN
Sept. 24 – at Western Christian
Oct. 1 – at Rim of the World
Oct. 16 – DESERT HOT SPRINGS*
Oct. 22 – at Yucca Valley*
Oct. 29 – at Shadow Hills*
Nov. 6 – DESERT MIRAGE*
Nov. 12 – at Twentynine Palms (Twentynine Palms JHS)

Home games will be played at Big Bear Middle School