Think of Southern California prep football powers and schools like Santa Ana Mater Dei, Mission Viejo and Westlake Village Oaks Christian spring to mind.
Big Bear doesn't really register with most folks, mainly because it competes in a lower division and is best known as a vacation wonderland.
Located at 6,757 feet elevation in
a picturesque pocket of
Boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya liked the area so much that he formerly owned a home there and trained in the high-altitude locale.
But the toast now of
That dates back to last year's season-opening victory against San Bernardino Aquinas. That was the only defeat Aquinas suffered en route to a 13-1 season and a CIF-Southern Section championship.
Last week Big Bear topped Aquinas again, 35-7.
Saturday the the Bears take on the
Simi Valley Grace Brethren Lancers at The
game is at the Bears' bucolic home field at
"We're a small community and we're isolated," said Bears coach Dave Griffiths, who
is 40-26 during eight seasons. "We get tremendous support from our community. The games are on Saturday afternoons and people enjoy coming out. It's such a beautiful setting."
Unless your team is in the crosshairs of the Bears. Junior quarterback Kriss Proctor leads the team with 222 yards on 13-of-23 passing, with three touchdowns.
When Proctor isn't passing or running, he also kicks off (five into the end zone this season) and does all of the Bears' placekicking.
Other Big Bear standouts are linebackers Jesse Ceron and Christian Metzger and returning All-CIF nose guard Martin Mosely.
"Mosely is a force in the middle
and a third-year varsity starter,"
Coaching in such a scenic and isolated locale is always interesting for Griffiths, who also is the school's athletic director.
At times the Bears are forced to
shovel snow off their field in order to play games. Occasionally
"You can get a lot of good conditioning in with a snowball fight," he said. "They're really good for the cardio-vascular system."
Filling the air this week will be footballs, not snowballs. Visiting Grace Brethren (1-0) can wing it, with quarterback Kevin Ramay 16-of-30 on the season for 335 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Ramay has two good receivers in Travis Sproat (170 yards, two Tds) and Jake Kendall (130 yards, one TD).
Grace Brethren, which plays in the same league as powerhouse Oaks Christian, won its opener, 18-14 against Kilpatrick.