Justin Reber grew up around football.
He set receiving records at Capital Christian High School, played semi-pro ball, coached a bit in college and then led a small school in Southern California to the playoffs.
But what the first-year coach at Rio Linda experienced Friday night tops it all in the frantic, clutch-your-chest variety. After giving up a touchdown at Cosumnes Oaks with 30 seconds to go, Reber called for a short pass to his best player and hoped for the best. He got it as Marcel Brown pulled in Zak Burden’s wheel-route pass and took off untouched 70 yards to stun the Wolfpack 38-35 and move the No. 11 Knights to 3-0.
“Craziest game ever,” Reber said. “Marcel just outran everyone. All of our coaches were running with him, but he was too fast. We just wanted to get Marcel the ball in space and let him go.”
Burden came in with no touchdown passes but had four Friday as Reber aims to provide balance for Brown, perhaps the Sac-Joaquin Section’s top running back.
Scott Savoie knew he was destined to be a Bear River teacher and coach and, ultimately, Logue’s good friend and co-coach, because his young son could perfect a screeching sound. Savoie’s son, Landon, placed second at the 1992 Nevada County Fair by belting out a pig squeal. On Friday, Logue, Savoie and Zauner celebrated Logue’s 200th coaching victory, a 35-7 win over Argonaut. Bear River wasn’t at full strength yet still prevailed when John Voter, best known for his linebacking duties, rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns for the Bruins (2-1). Voter’s brother, Jason, was a late fill-in at quarterback and admirably led the team.
Caden Voges passed for 442 yards and four touchdowns, and Lonny Powell had five sacks and a 65-yard touchdown run for the Dragons, who denied the Eagles any points on three trips inside their 30. Next is a game at No. 6 Rocklin (3-0).
Volek was already in good spirits before kickoff. His son, Chris, caught four touchdowns in the junior varsity game, a 49-26 victory.
The region is 3-0 against Fresno teams, with top-ranked Folsom blasting Clovis North 49-13 while resting all starters in the second half.
The coach also raved about Mo Nieves, who ran for 102 yards and three touchdowns against the Zebras.
Said Petrissans to The Fresno Bee, “The expectations should be high with the tradition this school has. We’ll strive to play hard.”