COLUMBIA — They did it.
For the first time in six years, the Rock Bridge High School football team is advancing to sectionals.
“Oh, it’s a great feeling,” Bruins coach A.J. Ofodile said, already out of breath from celebrating with his team. “We haven’t moved past this point in quite some time.”
The Bruins defeated the Blue Springs Wildcats 32-27 on Friday night, making them the runner-up in their district behind the champion Blue Springs South Jaguars.
“It’s a heck of a feeling to move on and get that win,” Ofodile said, a rare, beaming smile on his face. “I’m proud of the way our kids approached this.”
Rock Bridge scored early in the game to set the tempo. On their first drive, five minutes into the first quarter, the Bruins scored on a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Bo Bell to receiver Freeman Simmons to make it a 7-0 lead.
Blue Springs would tie the game up with a touchdown later in the quarter but would quickly see the game get out of reach.
With seconds left in the first quarter, Bell completed a 10-yard pass up the middle to receiver Kenny James, who promptly pivoted his foot and sprinted the remaining 40 yards for a touchdown. The Bruins took a 14-7 lead and never looked back.
“Accomplished,” James said, tears of joy streaming down his face. “It was a great game. It was hard-fought. Blue Springs is good, but we came in with a mindset to win.”
James would add an interception in the 4th quarter.
“I’m just enjoying this,” James said, his teammates still celebrating in the background. “I love it.”
The Bruins finish district play with a 2-1 record and are 7-3 on the season. They beat a Blue Springs team that was riding a seven-game winning streak.
Rock Bridge can celebrate now, but its upcoming opponent will be its toughest test yet. The Bruins travel to Rockhurst High School for a 7 p.m. game on Friday in Kansas City. They lost to Rockhurst 35-6 earlier in the season.
“They’re very good,” Ofodile said. “Fortunately, we’ve seen them before. There’s always some apprehension the first time you go see an opponent like that, so hopefully that’s past us. Hopefully we’ll be able to put our best foot forward and go out and show a little bit better than last time.”
“We’ve got to get prepared for Rockhurst, but I mean, we’re going to celebrate tonight,” James said.