Rock Bridge defense shines in jamboree

Sunday, August 31, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:55 a.m. CDT, Sunday, June 29, 2008

Several returning Rock Bridge stars did not steal the show at Friday night’s three-team jamboree at Rock Bridge.

Instead, the Bruins received balance on both sides of the ball, defeating Oakville 6-0 and settling for a scoreless 36-play scrimmage with Liberty.

Quarterback Chase Patton threw a touchdown to Johnny Kruse on the Bruins’ first drive against Oakville. Rock Bridge also got production from Van Alexander, who gained 40 yards rushing, and Kruse, who made four catches.

Ryan Washington, Greg Longo, Kruse and Alexander contributed to a defense that didn’t allow a point all night. Kruse had an interception against Liberty.

Patton, meanwhile, was his usual self. On one fourth-and-long play against Liberty, he had trouble taking a snap and found himself about to be sandwiched between Blue Jays defenders.

He calmly avoided the sack, faked a handoff and threw a perfect pass to Tyler Dow for a 30-yard gain. Patton threw for 131 yards, completing 11-of-16 passes, including the touchdown.

After throwing for 2,670 yards and 23 touchdowns a year ago, Patton’s name has become one of the biggest in Missouri high school football. He said he felt pressure Friday, but credited his teammates for helping him settle in and feel comfortable.

“I was a little nervous coming in because I kind of have a lot of pressure on me, but I try not to let that get to me,’’ Patton said. “Everybody came out and was fired up, and that was good to see.”

Alexander was impressed.

“Chase was awesome,” Alexander said. “He’s always going to be awesome. I didn’t see him make one mistake. He scrambled when he needed to and he hit the open man. I thought he played real well.”

Alexander, who played last season at tailback, fullback, offensive tackle and middle linebacker, spent much of Friday night on offense. His first carry against Oakville went for 10 yards.

“The offensive line opened some really good holes for me, and they turned into a few nice runs,” he said.

Alexander is one of several players the Bruins expect to excel offensively and defensively. Kruse is another. With many players playing both ways, coach A.J. Ofodile said conditioning becomes a major concern as the team prepares for its opener Friday at Mexico.

“We need to get in better shape,” he said. “I think when we get in better shape we’ll stop a lot of the turnovers. When we were fresh, we executed well. But we don’t have a lot of people so we’re going to have to have guys going both ways.”

Although officials called several penalties against Rock Bridge throughout the night, Ofodile said the performance of his team encouraged him.

“I feel good about the effort,” he said. “If we keep that up, we got a chance to beat some people.”

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