It should be closer than last year.
Tonight’s game at Rock Bridge between the Bruins and Moberly almost has to be closer than the 76-0 pounding Rock Bridge put on Moberly last year.
The kickoff at 7 will be the first time the Bruins have played at home since they beat Fort Zumwalt West 42-7 in the first round of the Class 6 playoffs.
The Bruins are careful talking about the home-field factor.
“We’re really just looking at it as another game,” quarterback Chase Patton said. “We’re not trying to use home-field advantage as an excuse to back off a little bit.”
Coach A.J. Ofodile said Moberly is much better than last year.
“They’ve got a big offensive line, a lot bigger than us up front on both sides of the ball, so it’s a very difficult challenge,” Ofodile said.
The Bruins are struggling with injuries on the offensive line. Connor Price, 6 feet 3 and 280 pounds, and Chris Cottle, 6-1 and 260, will miss tonight’s game. They also missed the opening game against Mexico.
Rock Bridge (1-0) is coming off a 45-9 win against Mexico on Sept. 5. Moberly (0-1) lost to North Callaway 33-24.
Despite the loss, Ofodile says Moberly has made positive changes. The Spartans have added more running plays. Moberly also has changed its passing game, simplifying wide receivers’ routes. That makes it easier for the quarterback to read those routes.
“They’re a much more effective offense in that style than they were before,” Ofodile said.
Moberly also has changed its defense to man-to-man. The change is because the team is more athletic.
“How much faster they are as a team is pretty impressive,” Ofodile said.
Patton says he’s not worried about a letdown tonight.
“I think, if anything, maybe our biggest letdown might have been last week just because we kind of came out not as fired up as we should have been,” Patton said.
Ofodile agrees that the team won’t let down its guard.
“I think our guys are smart enough to realize it’s not the same team (that) we beat like that,” Ofodile said.
Rock Bridge lost the majority of its receivers from last year, which was a major concern entering the season. The Bruins have three players returning who caught passes last season. Van Alexander, Scott Russell and Johnny Kruse accounted for 14 of Rock Bridge’s 186 receptions.
Rock Bridge made 18 receptions against Mexico. Russell made six catches, which topped his total of five from last year.