They haven’t taken a class at Rock Bridge High, but three players are contributing to the Bruins’ football team.
Cornerback Scott Concannon, nose guard Jason Reddy and wide receiver Logan Gray are freshman starters. Although it is early in their high school careers, they have made major contributions.
The freshmen have scored five touchdowns four games into the season. All go to Jefferson Junior High.
The freshmen started working out with the team in spring practices. Concannon was the first freshman to talk with coach A.J. Ofodile. Concannon started lifting and working out with the team. He then started talking about Gray and Reddy. All three started working out with Rock Bridge and Ofodile could tell they could help the Bruins.
“I didn’t know the type of impact they would make, but I knew all of them were ready to play,” Ofodile said.
Ofodile said that he didn’t make the decision to start them until before the Mexico game Sept. 5.
“They’re a major part of the team,” Ofodile said. “All of them have made big plays and done really good things.”
Concannon, 5 feet 9, 155 pounds, has returned two kickoffs and one punt for touchdowns. He also has made 10 tackles.
His first touchdown was in the rain against Moberly on Sept. 12. Concannon knocked down the low kick and picked it up. He broke two tackles and outran the Spartans for his first high school touchdown.
“It’s quite tiring after you’re in the end zone,” Concannon said.
His second return was 90 yards on the opening kickoff against Kirksville on Sept. 19. The Tigers wrapped up Concannon three times, but he ran through the tackles and kept his balance.
“He’s got everything you want in a returner,” Ofodile said.
Concannon also returned a deflected punt 26 yards for a touchdown Friday against Marshall.
Even with the returns, Concannon would rather avoid the attention.
“I’m not really a good person in the spotlight,” Concannon said. “It’s good to know that people actually pay attention and notice you.”
Reddy, 5-11, 310 pounds, has had his share of recognition. Reddy made his first tackle in the opening game against Mexico and has five this season.
“I don’t think they said my name out; I wanted to hear it,” Reddy said. “I’d made a lot of mistakes in that game … that one tackle … I knew what I was doing then.”
On Fridays, the freshmen wear collared shirts that have Rock Bridge football written on them. Reddy said he enjoys getting attention from the other students at Jefferson Junior High.
“It’s pretty nice coming to school; everybody looking at you saying, ‘He plays for Rock Bridge football,’ but I don’t try getting too cocky from it,” Reddy said. “You’ve just got to act like you’re at Rock Bridge. I just try to act calm.”
Reddy said it is a major switch from recreation league football to high school football. The speed is faster, and the players are better.
“I really didn’t go up against that many guys in rec league,” Reddy said. “I come into high school and the first practice I get torn up.”
Reddy, like most freshmen, said he is learning something every day.
Gray, 6-0, 155 pounds, learned a new position this year when he switched to wide receiver. Gray is the backup quarterback as well. He said backing up Chase Patton, considered one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, is a great opportunity.
“He’s awesome,” Gray said. “I just try to, in practice, just watch him and learn as much as I can from him because he’s the real deal.”
Gray has scored while playing at both positions. His first touchdown was a reception on the opening drive against Moberly.
“I just didn’t want to drop the ball,” Gray said. “Before the season, I didn’t ever think I was going to score a varsity touchdown this year.”
Gray’s second touchdown was in the fourth quarter against Kirksville. On a misdirection play, Gray rolled out on a bootleg and ran in for the 10-yard touchdown.
Even with their early success, the freshmen can play better, Ofodile said.
“Honestly, I don’t think any of them have played up to their full potential yet in any of the varsity games,” Ofodile said. “I think they’ve only shown flashes of what they can do.”
Those flashes have been enough to help Rock Bridge start 4-0 and earn a No. 5 ranking in Class 6. Ofodile said they are promising for the future, but he isn’t thinking about the future.
“We just need them now,” Ofodile said. “I couldn’t imagine not having them.”