Bruins look to stop surging Hannibal

Friday, September 24, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:33 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

The Rock Bridge football team hopes to do what a lightning storm could not: stop the Hannibal Pirates.

In Hannibal’s game Sept. 17 against Marshall, lightning forced officials to reschedule for Saturday with 1 minute, 35 seconds left in the first quarter.

Trailing 20-0 at the half on Saturday night, the Pirates mounted a comeback to edge Marshall 21-20 and improve to 2-1.

Rock Bridge (2-1) is coming off a 32-14 loss to Liberty. Bruins’ coach A.J. Ofodile said his team will have to play hard for the entire game tonight.

“We’ve got to get tougher as a team and realize it’s a 48-minute ball game,” Ofodile said. “We’ve got to play all 48 of those minutes at a certain tempo. If you have lapses at any time during that 48 minutes, then you set yourself up to give up big plays. That’s what we did this past week and that’s what cost us.”

Quarterback Logan Gray said he and his team will need to play better.

“I think that we can’t have any lapses during the game,” Gray said. “Even if we’re tired, we just have to keep playing hard the whole game.”

The Bruins will have to improve their running game against the Pirates. Gray led the Bruins with 20 rushing yards against Liberty, and sophomore running back Scott Concannon had 9 yards on seven carries.

The most recent time Hannibal met Rock Bridge, quarterback Chase Patton passed for 360 yards and six touchdowns, leading the Bruins to a 63-14 victory.

This year, though, the Hannibal defense has been better. Against Marshall, the Pirates caught two interceptions, forced a fumble and blocked a crucial extra-point attempt. The week before, they held Fulton to 52 total yards in a 14-2 victory.

“We beat them pretty good last year,” Gray said. “But we’re not the same team that we were last year, and they’re not the same team they were last year. We can’t overlook them. We’ve got to take this game as a challenge.”

Offensively, the Pirates have three running backs who contribute regularly. Sophomores Jacob Saxton and Andrew Bergeson combined for 158 yards and a touchdown against Fulton. Last week against the Owls, junior Matt Warfield amassed 166 yards on 33 carries. He also was responsible for one of Hannibal’s touchdowns.

Senior quarterback Kevin Arthaud completed three of his seven pass attempts last week but was more effective on the ground, carrying the ball 15 times for 57 yards and a touchdown.

Ofodile said he believes the Pirates will be eager to get revenge when the game kicks off tonight at 7.

“I guarantee this is going to be a Super Bowl for them,” Ofodile said. “They got something to prove.”

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