Battle only had three days to celebrate the first victory of its 2019 season. Then, it was back to the usual grind.
“I told them ... to do what they needed to do, but Monday, be ready to go back to work,” coach Atiyyah Ellison said. “It’s not our goal to be 1-1.”
With that in mind, Battle (1-1) heads into its Week 3 matchup against the Rock Bridge Bruins (0-2) ready to face the most defensive star power it has seen this season.
Seniors Jalen Logan-Redding and Will Norris are some of the more notable defenders in the state. Both the defensive lineman and linebacker are three-star recruits who’ve announced their commitment to the University of Missouri. Ellison said both have been points of focus throughout the practice week.
“There’s places and ways to score points on them,” Ellison said.
In terms of scoring, the Spartans have had little trouble finding the end zone through two weeks, and a lot of that lies in the offense’s depth. The team is averaging 6.5 touchdowns a game and seven different ballcarriers have found the end zone for the Spartans on offense this season. Five different players are also over the century mark already in total offensive yardage.
Ellison said after last week’s win over Smith-Cotton that his team has a “dry-erase” feel, in that Spartans personnel can change from week-to-week and be just as dynamic.
A big part of the offense over the last two seasons has been senior running back Darren Jordan. Jordan, who leads the team with 154 rushing yards, didn’t play in Sedalia last week, as he was sporting a walking boot after a foot injury.
Both Jordan and Ellison couldn’t provide comment on the injury after last week’s win, but Ellison said earlier this week that Jordan would play against Rock Bridge. The senior could be seen at practice Thursday without a walking boot.
Despite having explosive defenders and offensive veterans like quarterback Grant Hajicek and wideout Tre Manuel, Rock Bridge has found itself in a 0-2 hole after a 9-3 finish in 2018 that marked the program’s deepest run in the Class 6 State Tournament since it was 2013 State runner-up.
Losses to 2018 State runner-up Rockhurst and a De Smet program that has three seniors playing Division 1 football next year will likely provide a chip on the Bruin’s shoulder heading into a crosstown matchup with big implications.
Both Battle and Rock Bridge will look to pull away from this game with a better sense of program identity for the season ahead. In Ellison’s inaugural season, he’s taking few chances, regardless of record.
“Their record, to me, shouldn’t even matter,” he said. “I think we need to focus on doing what we do well and not so much on what changes week-to-week.”
Battle and Rock Bridge will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday at Rock Bridge High School.