For every good play by the Rock Bridge Bruins, there was a bad one.
Quarterback Logan Gray ran for a touchdown on the opening drive of the first quarter and in the third threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Prinard Black. But Gray also was responsible for four interceptions.
The Liberty Blue Jays improved to 3-0 and beat the Bruins 32-14.
“The biggest mistake is probably on my shoulders,” Gray said. “We started to throw the ball about every down, but I still made some bad throws.”
One of those interceptions came at a crucial point in the game. Trailing 20-14 late in the third quarter, the Bruins were nine yards away from a score. On second down, Gray’s pass was intercepted, and the Blue Jays, led by junior tailback Jake Jenkins, marched down the field and scored a touchdown on the next drive.
Rock Bridge coach A.J. Ofodile said he believes his team was physically prepared, but that they need to improve mentally.
“It’s an issue of eliminating mistakes (and) understanding that it’s a long game,” Ofodile said. “Surviving the emotional roller coaster is the next step for us. As coaches, we’ve got to do a better job of getting them there.”
The Bruins put together an opening drive that spanned 78 yards and ate nearly five minutes off the clock. After Gray ran for the touchdown and the extra point attempt was blocked, the Blue Jays responded with a 63-yard opening drive of their own that resulted in a touchdown.
Liberty led 7-6 after the first quarter and would never trail again.
Quarterback A.J. Jackson ran for a one-yard score with 4:16 remaining in the second quarter. On Liberty’s next drive, he rushed for a 22-yard touchdown, giving the Blue Jays a 20-6 lead halfway through the game.
Not long after Rock Bridge senior Demond Thorpe intercepted a Jackson pass in the third quarter, Gray threw to Black, who found the end zone for the first time this season.
“We came out and we did pretty good,” Black said. “We had expectations, we just need to come out and give a little more.”
The Bruins were unable to convert on a Liberty turnover later, and Jenkins rushed for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to seal the victory for his team.
“I don’t think the scoreboard really showed how close it was,” Gray said. “I think if we make some improvements, we can still have a pretty good season. We just got to keep on working hard.”