Bruins aim to limit strong Tiger offense

Rock Bridge pursues its second consecutive
shutout victory.
Friday, September 10, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:23 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 14, 2008

A different group of Tigers will be in Columbia when Smith-Cotton visits the Rock Bridge Bruins at 7 p.m. today.

Led by senior quarterback Michael Franklin, Smith-Cotton (1-0) scored 47 points in its victory against the Springfield Parkview Vikings on Sept. 3. Franklin, a second-year starter, ran for more than 100 yards and three touchdowns and passed for another score. Running backs Demario Claxton and Alex Foote each had more than 100 yards on the ground.

Bruins’ coach A.J. Ofodile said Smith-Cotton’s successful running game did not affect how Rock Bridge got ready for tonight’s home opener.

“It doesn’t change how you prepare,” Ofodile said. “You have to put an emphasis on assignment and fundamentals and you always have to account for (Franklin). You can never go to sleep on him because he is a guy that can hurt you, and he may actually be their most explosive weapon.”

In Franklin’s first year as a starter, the Tigers went 8-3 and won a district football championship.

Ofodile said he hopes his defense will be ready for tonight’s challenge.

“They’ve got some quality running backs and they have several guys they can come at you with,” Ofodile said. “We’re going to have to be up for the challenge. Whether we are or not, we’ll see (tonight).”

Last week, the Bruins’ had what Ofodile

called one of their best defensive performances. Unofficially, Rock Bridge gave up about 90 yards rushing on 37 attempts and less than 140 total yards in a 7-0 shutout victory against Marshall.

“(It’s) a good start for the defense,” Ofodile said.

Junior Josh Conyers, who prevented a touchdown last week by knocking the ball out of Marshall receiver Tyler Cary’s hands, said he has confidence that his defense can stop Smith-Cotton tonight.

“Our defense is tough,” he said. “As long as we play as a team, we’ll stop them.”

In addition to playing safety, Conyers spends time at wide receiver. He said he thinks his team needs to be better on both sides of the ball tonight, especially offensively.

Ofodile said his offense had a lot of miscues, dropped balls and blew assignments last week against Marshall. He also said he has higher expectations for his offense tonight.

“I’m expecting these guys to step up and live up to their potential,” Ofodile said. “There’s a world of potential on this team, from the quarterback to the receiver to the running back position. I’m expecting big things out of this offense, and it’s going to have to come a lot sooner than later.”

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