Bear Lake High School
Conference: 2A South East Idaho Conference
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Head Coach: Ryan Messerly
Years as Head Coach: 3rd Season
Previous Experience: Bear Lake Assistant – 4 years
Record Last Year: 7-3
State Titles: None
Avery Carlsen, QB, senior
Walter Schwarting, OL/DL, senior
Hayden Peterson, TE/DL, senior
Houston Peterson, WR/DL, senior
McKay Alleman, RB/LB, senior
Jared DeClark, RB/CB, senior
Written by: Matt Harris
The 2016 season was one to remember for the Bear Lake Bears.
The team not only claimed the South East Idaho Conference championship, but they pushed eventual state champion St. Maries to the brink before falling in the state semifinals. It was the Bears first appearance in the semifinals since the late 1990’s.
Can the Bears get back to that point again this season? Well, they certainly have a lot of returning talent to help make that happen.
Senior quarterback Avery Carlsen is back to lead the Bear Lake offense this season. The quick thinking, scrambling signal caller for the Bears kept his team alive at critical points during last season’s playoffs with his ability to elude would-be tacklers. Carlsen will be joined by the running back duo of McKay Alleman and Jared DeClark. Twin brothers Hayden and Houston Peterson will occupy positions at tight end and wide receiver respectively.
The offensive line will be anchored by Walter Schwarting, who will be joined by the Peterson twins on the defensive line as well. Alleman will lead the way at linebacker with DeClark roaming in the secondary.
“Our strengths of our defense will be a lot of returning players that are all bigger, faster, and stronger than they were last year,” said head coach and Bear Lake alum Ryan Messerly.
The third-year head coach added that he hopes to use his players’ physical strength in executing their offensive schemes.
“The strength of our offense is the fact that it eats time up off the clock,” he said. “The idea is for the offensive team to wear down the defensive team to where it can then pick up huge chunks of yards.”
The Bears will have the opportunity to test that right off the bat in Week 1, when Bear Lake hosts the Rich Rebels out of Utah on Aug. 25. The blue-clad squad then faces 3A power Gooding at home on Sept. 1, followed by a trip north to St. Anthony to take on the South Fremont Cougars on Sept. 8. Following a bye week, the Bears will host the Marsh Valley Eagles.
Conference play in the South East Idaho Conference opens on Sept. 29 with Bear Lake traveling to West Side. The Bears then play two straight at home, including dates against Soda Springs on Oct. 6 and Malad on Oct. 13. The team finishes the year on the road at Aberdeen on Oct. 19 in a game which might determine the conference championship.
Could Bear Lake not only return to the state semifinals but go all the way in 2017? If they can keep Carlsen upright and execute their grind-it-out offense, don’t be surprised if the school from Montpelier turns some heads this football season.