The score: 21-0.
The time: Less than three minutes left in the third quarter.
The guarantee of a win: None.
That was the scenario for sophomore quarterback Logan Gray as he stepped up and made a key play to ensure the Bruins would win.
With the Smith-Cotton defense converged on Demond Thorpe, Gray aired the ball out to Brandon Gerau, who was wide open and near the 20-yard line. With the ball still in the air, an excited murmur emanated from the Rock Bridge bleachers where fans packed the stands and hoped Gerau could bring in the catch.
When the ball hit Gerau in the chest, the crowd erupted as he continued to the end zone. Only Michael Franklin, who plays as a defensive back in addition to quarterback, stood in his way.
Franklin caught Gerau close to the goal line, but Gerau fought his way past, scoring his first touchdown of the year, securing a 42-14 win.
“I’m glad to get one under my belt,” Gerau said. “I couldn’t believe I was that wide open, and Logan hit me right in stride. My eyes got huge when I saw the end zone.”
“It was exciting,” Gray said. “I hit him right in stride. I was just hoping he didn’t get caught at the end.”
Former Rock Bridge standout quarterback Chase Patton watched from the stands and might have been reminded of his high school playing days in which he broke nearly every passing record in school history.
“He’s doing a great job,” Patton said. “I think he’s on track to being a great quarterback, so that’s kind of exciting to see.”
The 48-yard score was enough to ensure the Rock Bridge fans that the Bruins were cruising to a 2-0 record.
The Bruins can’t get too caught up in their victory against Smith-Cotton.
Rock Bridge will hit the road next week for a game against the Liberty Blue Jays.
Liberty (2-0) is coming off a 34-0 shutout of Fort Osage in its home opener.
Quarterback A.J. Jackson threw touchdown passes of 35 yards and 74 yards for Liberty. Running back Jake Jenkins scored three rushing touchdowns.
Bruins coach A.J. Ofodile said his team wasn’t intimidated by Smith-Cotton on Friday, andthey shouldn’t be intimidated by anybody.
“I don’t think we’re in a situation where we are as a program that we need to line up and be intimidated by anybody,” he said.
Another strong defensive outing will be needed if the Bruins hope to improve to 3-0.
“Our defensive line has been playing real good against the run,” sophomore Scott Concannon said. “Our corners have been pretty good against the pass, and the safeties always come out to make their tackles. It’s a pretty in sync defense.”
Gray said the team had a much better start, compared with the Sept. 3 game at Marshall.
“It feels really good that we didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot,” Gray said, referring to the opening game in which the Bruins managed only one touchdown. “We actually started clicking tonight.”
Ofodile said he was happy with the improvement he saw compared with last week.
“A typical jump from game one to game two is what it really comes down to,” Ofodile said. “You expect to have a significant improvement in your poise (and) significant improvement in your performance and we ended up getting that, so we’re pretty excited about that. Hopefully we can keep it going.”
With all of Smith-Cotton’s scoring coming in the fourth quarter, Ofodile thinks his defense could still improve.
“We have to keep improving our conditioning,” Ofodile said. “We’ve got a lot of guys going both ways so we wear down a little bit, but the defense plays hard. They read their keys (and) they’re starting to really believe what we’re coaching them to do.”
Offensively, Concannon said he was happy with his team’s performance.
“We were out there to prove to people that we were a good offense and not just some joke,” Concannon said. “Coming out there and putting up that many points was what we were determined to do and then we did it.”