Bruins overcome 6 picks, earn state ‘ship berth

Photo by Maribeth Eiken

Senior Jace Neville attacks Hickman defender Grant Jones attempting a tip from Logan Twehous’ pass September 27, 2013 at the annual Providence Bowl. Jones successfully blocked passage of the ball, leading Twehous to an incomplete and setting the Bruins up for another down. Photo by Maribeth Eiken

Brett Stover

20 years is the charm: Bruins advance to state finals with 36-33 win over Hawks

You’re not going to the state championship until I get there.

Those were the words Alex Ofodile said to his father, Rock Bridge High School coach AJ Ofodile during a Bruin season many years ago. Now coaching his four-star recruit recruit son, the elder Ofodile said after tonight’s football game against Hazelwood Central that those words seem prophetic.
However, playing in their first state semifinal since 2002, the Bruins seemed at first like they couldn’t accomplish the feat they have only four time in their history.

Junior QB Logan Twehous has put up spectacular numbers this season so far.
Junior QB Logan Twehous has put up spectacular numbers this season so far, but threw six interceptions last night in the Bruins’ crazy 36-33 over Hazelwood Central. Photo by Maribeth Eiken.
After his defense blocked Hazelwood Central’s field goal attempt in the first quarter, junior quarterback Logan Twehous threw his first interception on the first play of the next drive.
Following another red zone stand, the Bruins (8-5) again had the ball. However, Twehous threw the ball back to the Hawks (12-1), this time setting up a drive culminating on a touchdown pass from HC’s junior quarterback Mike Glass. The extra point was blocked, though, leaving the score 6-0.
Despite driving deep into HC territory on the next drive, Twehous threw his third interception of the night in the second quarter. A 95-yard drive by the Hawks and a PAT that split the uprights widened their lead to 13-0 with 8:44 in the first half.
When their next drive stalled, the Bruins were forced to punt. They couldn’t capitalize on a fumble by HC either but managed to force a punt by the Hawks, downed at their own 25. On the next play, however, Twehous completed a 25-yard pass to junior Alex Ofodile, putting the Bruins on the board with 2:10 to play. After getting the ball back, Twehous threw his fourth interception of the night as time expired.
Going into the locker room, the mood was grim. The six points separating the two teams seemed a chasm too large to surpass, given the dismal play of the Bruins’ offense in the first half. Coach Ofodile likened it to a game from 2005 against DeSmet.
“We’re down a touchdown, and it felt like we were down 28,” the Bruin coach said. “I remembered the mood in there, and I didn’t say anything about it, but I remember being disturbed by it. We’re in this game; we’ve made some mistakes. We’re only down seven, and they act like we lost.”
Their fortunes changed coming out when several solid passes set up a 11-yard touchdown by senior Eli Stout, playing in possibly his final high school game. Stout provided a boost for the offense throughout the game. This run put Rock Bridge on top for the first time of the night as they lead 14-13 with 10:20 to play in the third quarter.
“There’s something about seniors,” Coach Ofodile said. “They’re tough. They want it. You can see the level of all our seniors – just the desperation and wanting to win and coming from behind.”
However, the gap reopened on the Hawks’ next possession as star running back Kevin Batt ran for a 62-yard touchdown, but the 2-point conversion attempt failed. This left the score 19-14. Batt gashed the Bruin defense the whole night, often rushing for more than thirty yards.
Twehous threw an interception, his fifth of the game, on the next drive. The Hawks couldn’t capitalize, so they were forced to punt. Almost immediately, Twehous threw his sixth and final interception of the night night. A long drive widened the score again, making it 26-14, Hazelwood, with 6:03 in the third quarter.
“It’s very easy to get discouraged, to think that maybe it’s not our day, that it’s not worth it,” Coach Ofodile said, “but they blocked that out and they go hard. They play, and they play, and they play and buy into that eventually good things happen.”
Good things did happen as a long Bruin drive ended in a 13-yard pass from Twehous to senior Zach Reuter near the end of the third quarter narrowed the score. The two teams went into the final 12 minutes with the Hawks ahead 26-21.
A critical moment in the final stretch was a short missed field goal by the Hawks, keeping the Bruins within one possession. After several drives that went nowhere, Twehous threw a 16-yard pass to A.J. Ofodile and completed a magnificent 2-point conversion to Reuter to put the Bruins ahead 29-26 with 3:47.
That lead wouldn’t last, however, as 15 seconds later a long Batt run and a 1-yard quarterback keeper by Glass made the score 33-29.
With 2:12 left in the game, Twehous threw a 35-yard pass to Reuter. 36-33 Bruins.
If anyone needed proof the Bruins were this year’s Team of Destiny, here it is: with 56.7 seconds left, the Hawks had the ball nearly in the Bruin endzone. Somehow, in some miraculous occurrence, the ball popped out. Matt Troyer fell on it.
“That fumble? I don’t really know how it came out,” Coach Ofodile said. “It’s just one of the things where you can just say, ‘Man, it’s just meant to be.’ It’s kind of a destiny thing. He said his neck was bothering him. He was pretty good, very lucid. He got over [to the bench, and] said he was good.”
The Bruins won the state semifinal. As the Bruin head coach said, the scene after the win was surreal. The student section rushed the field when the clock hit zero. Players hugged; fans hugged. Coaches hugged. And Rock Bridge fans and players alike at that moment were united by that single-minded exhilaration that comes from knowing that this team had done it again: these Bruins had beaten the odds, upset the powerhouse and came from behind to win.
These Bruins are going to the Dome.
By Brett Stover
Rock Bridge travels to the Edward Jones Dome in downtown St. Louis next Friday, Nov. 29, to take on defending state champion Blue Springs (13-0). The Wildcats defeated Eureka (11-2) 42-14 Friday, despite only one combined touchdown in the second half.