LEE’S SUMMIT - As the Rock Bridge football team gathered around its coaches after Friday’s game, steam was rising off the head of Bruins quarterback Shawn Rush Jr.
It wasn’t surprising. Rush, a junior, ran for two touchdowns and played safety for the Bruins in their 22-13 victory over host Lee’s Summit North.
Both of Rush’s touchdowns came with nearly clear paths to the end zone.
“It’s like a dream,” he said. “There’s nothing better than that. It was a lot of fun. It was beautiful. I was told I was going to get some reps.”
The Bruins' victory in their 2009 season opener matches their win total from last season.
The momentum of the game shifted as soon as Rush entered in relief of starter Mark Pickerel, who was limited by a strained left groin. Bruins head coach A.J. Ofodile made the switch about two minutes from halftime.
“Mark is coming off an injury,” Ofodile said. “Maybe he’s not quite 100 percent. Mark just didn’t look like himself. I didn’t feel like Mark was himself.”
Pickerel, who Ofodile thinks is one of his fastest runners, rushed for only 29 yards on six carries. Rush ran for 55 yards on six carries.
The Bruins reworked their offense this offseason, preparing themselves to run more often. They didn’t complete a pass throughout the entire second half.
“We didn’t?” Ofodile asked after the game. “Wow, that’s a far cry from where we used to be. We revamped our entire offense, our entire defense and our entire special teams.”
Senior tailback/defensive end Trey Millard provided much of the yards on the ground. He ran for 137 yards on 17 carries, including a huge 34-yard gain late in the fourth quarter. That play set up Rush’s second touchdown. Millard then banged into the end zone for a two-point conversion, which were the final points of the game.
Rush’s first touchdown followed by a Millard two-point conversion put the Bruins ahead 12-10. Millard scored on a 1-yard run to give the Bruins their first six points, but the point after attempt by kicker Ian Patterson failed.
The power of the 6-foot-3 Millard and the speed of Rush provided a variety that Ofodile enjoys.
“It brings a lot in the backfield,” he said. “Millard is a 250-pound sledgehammer. You’re talking about a big, big athletic kid. He’s basically a college player now. Trying to tackle him is tough. It takes a lot out of you if you can bring them down.
“He (Rush) provided a spark. He had a 9-to-5 (job) the entire summer but came in to work out after that. He’s more explosive. His arm is stronger.”
The Bruins defense stifled the Broncos’ running game but allowed 194 yards through the air from Lee’s Summit North quarterback Caleb Cole on 23 passes.
Pickerel finished 7-for-9 for 39 yards. Rush went 2-for-3 for 22 yards. The Bruins, however, ran for 258 yards on 45 carries.
The Bruins play their home opener at 7 p.m. next Friday against Hazelwood Central.