Rock Bridge has taken advantage of the third quarter.
The Bruins have outscored opponents 75-0 in the third quarter. Ranked fifth, the Bruins will try to have another impressive third quarter against Hannibal at 7 tonight at Rock Bridge.
Against Kirksville on Sept. 19, Rock Bridge scored 20 points in the third quarter. The Bruins (5-0) had struggled in the first half, but they forced Kirksville to punt on all three of its possessions in the quarter.
Against Fulton on Oct. 3, Rock Bridge pulled away by scoring 21 points in 1:46 of the third quarter.
Coach A.J. Ofodile said regaining focus during halftime has led to the strong third quarter performances.
“Sometimes we get in games and we might jump out to a lead and feel more comfortable than we should feel,” Ofodile said. “We had to reel everything back in and refocus and come back and play.
“When you’re professional about something, you go about it the same way every time, regardless of the situation. I think there’s a certain amount of maturity that goes into doing that.”
The Bruins have struggled at times in the second quarter. Rock Bridge had two turnovers against Fulton in the second quarter that allowed the Hornets to gain momentum heading into halftime.
Ofodile uses halftime to motivate Rock Bridge and make minor adjustments. Against Fulton, Rock Bridge adjusted the way the offensive line looked for a blitz. The linemen kept their eyes up in the stance to see the blitz better.
Quarterback Chase Patton said the halftime talks help the Bruins play with more emotion.
“I think it’s a heart thing … coming out with more heart and playing harder,” Patton said.
Rock Bridge’s defense has allowed 8.2 points per game. The Bruins allowed 286 yards against Fulton, the most they have given up. Rock Bridge forced three consecutive turnovers in the third quarter.
Linebacker Van Alexander said the defense is comfortable in the third quarter.
“I think it takes a little bit of time for our defense to get oriented to their offense and kind of know what’s going on,” Alexander said. “Once we do that, we’re a real effective defense.”
Defense is a key tonight against Hannibal (4-1). The Pirates have Aaron Bergeson, who scored four times in last week’s 42-27 win against Mexico. He had two rushing touchdowns, kicked a field goal and returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
Patton said the Bruins never clicked offensively against Hannibal last year in the Pirates’ 29-20 victory.
He said tonight’s game will be a good test for Rock Bridge.
“It’s probably going to be our hardest game so far,” Patton said.