Chris Wise's history classroom has far-reaching themes on his football field.
The Bear River coach teaches his players that, albeit clichÃ©, football is war and every down is a battle to be won or lost.
"The casualties for us are opportunities," Wise said. "In a war of attrition, we suffer losses when we fail to execute. My kids get a heavy dose of history when we take the field."
Senior JarDee Nessen leads the Bears. The 6-foot quarterback runs a flexible pistol offense , which provides multiple opportunities to make a play. The pistol formation allows Nessen to fire the ball downfield or hand it off. Nessen's field generalship embodies the personality of the team fun loving and dedicated and bolsters Wise's confidence.
"The coaches and kids love him," Wise said. "He's a natural play maker and a character, the kind of kid that can take care of business on game day."
The Bears return nearly all of their offensive line. Wise said that the maturity of his blockers will give Nessen the protection he needs to get the ball to wide receiver Colton Jensen. Jensen scored 11 touchdowns last season and is a deep threat.
"With Jeramie Selman, Jensen is a big-time playmaker for us," Wise said. "Providing we stay healthy, we're going to go far in region play."
Bear River Bears
ASSIGNMENT • Class 3AA North
LAST YEAR • 7-5 overall, 4-2 Region 11
KEY RETURNER • The offensive line. The Bears, who return all but one starter, have a beefy front line that values strength and protecting the quarterback.
PLAYER TO WATCH • Quarterback JarDee Nessen is crucial for the Bears. Nessen is a natural leader who can unload the ball or run it.
BIGGEST HOLE • With only 80 players on the roster, coach Wise is focused on the health of his players to make sure an injury doesn't derail the program.
NEED TO KNOW • Bear River is focused on offense and avoiding sacks, turnovers and dumb penalties. Wise trusts his players to execute and counts on success coming from playing smart football.