Bruins seek second straight win against Jefferson City

Senior+wide+receiver+Malik+Gleason+sprints+with+the+ball%2C+eager+to+score+a+touchdown+for+the+Bruins.+RBHS+defeated+Hickman+48-21+in+a+satisfying+blowout+victory+on+Sept.+16.+photo+by+Yousuf+El-Jayyousi

Senior wide receiver Malik Gleason sprints with the ball, eager to score a touchdown for the Bruins. RBHS defeated Hickman 48-21 in a satisfying blowout victory on Sept. 16. photo by Yousuf El-Jayyousi

Ji-Ho Lee

Months before the first snap, carry or route, the Bruin football team was already facing an unexpected challenge. AJ Ofodile, head coach of the RBHS football team for the previous 12 years, became the director of recruiting for the University of Missouri’s football team. Defensive Coordinator Joe Collier assumed Ofodile’s position.
“Coach Ofodile is like an older brother to me, so I was happy for him but kind of sad to see him go because we wouldn’t be able to coach together,” Collier said. “But I was happy about the opportunity to be a head coach.”
Before the season started, Collier realized the difficulty of inserting a new head coach the summer before the beginning of the season and hoped to make the most of his opportunity by providing a smooth transition for the team.
“My first goal was for the kids to have a good experience,” Collier said. “Just making sure [the players] get the most out of the season, especially the seniors, making sure it was a good season for them.”
RBHS would lose the first four games of the season, including a 41-6 defeat in the season opener against Rockhurst. The following game, the team’s home opener, was a devastating loss against DeSmet in which a 27-13 Bruin lead evaporated within the final three minutes of the game, and the Spartans defeated RBHS 32-27.
It was obviously a tough loss,” junior wide receiver Reece Jarvis said. “But it built team chemistry and inspired us to work harder during practices and games.”
Collier’s Bruins, however, lost more than just a game against the Spartans, as starting quarterback Trevor Twehous suffered a broken collarbone.

Bruins bring on new quarterback

As a result, sophomore Marcus Manuel was thrust into the spotlight as the new starting quarterback.
“I was really surprised, but I was ready for the opportunity,” Manuel said. “I have learned that varsity is very difficult and your mind has to be right.”
Sharing the backfield with Manuel is sophomore running back and University of Missouri commit Nate Peat. A consistent source of productivity throughout the season, Peat has often provided a spark for the Bruin offense.
“I just do what I have to do for the team,” Peat said. “The whole reason why I’ve been successful is because of my teammates. They have my back no matter what.”
While the Bruin offense relies on two sophomores in the backfield, the defense, also plagued by injuries to starters, has been forced to turn to younger players. Junior Bryson Clayton suffered a torn ACL and is out for the season, while senior Isaiah Patrick missed two games with a concussion. While the injuries are devastating, they can also provide greater motivation.
We all have to work harder and be more focused to make up for what we have lost,” Jarvis said. “That gets us prepared better and gives experience and preparation to some of the younger guys.”
The Bruins missed Clayton and Patrick, however, as the two games following the DeSmet defeat were 32-6 and 36-0 losses against Battle High School and Lee’s Summit, respectively.
For senior safety Luke Bley, the slow start to the season was rooted in a frustrating yet fixable issue.
We’ve shot ourselves in the foot way too much this year and when you are dealing with injuries, that’s the last thing you can do,” Bley said. “To fix that, our coaches have been doing a great job of making sure that we do the little things right all the time.”
Moving forward Bley expects the talent and athleticism of the team to lead to success. Meanwhile, senior linebacker Randy James says that progress will result from a combination of physical and mental improvement.
We’re getting strong, fast and physical,” James said. “I believe that there are some incredible guys on this team with distinctive talent. They just have to have confidence.”
Despite the slow start to the season, the Bruins found some confidence last week in a blowout win against crosstown rival Hickman, 48-21. Senior running back Kian Pilot, who exploded for over 200 yards and four touchdowns, accompanied Peat and Manuel in a blowout victory against the Kewpies.
“Our guys did a pretty good job of completing their assignments,” Collier said about the game. “That’s been our achilles heel [this season] so we wanted to make sure we could get that done, especially on our offensive line.”
The Bruins look to build off of their victory against Hickman as they face Jefferson City High School tomorrow. A talented team, the Jays will pose a difficult challenge to the Bruins, but one that Collier is ready for.
“Hopefully we can come with a little more enthusiasm after the win,” Collier said. “As coaches we want to thoroughly watch and prepare the guys so we can have a good chance to win. We are starting to get some guys healthy and back on the field so . . . we’ll see if we can get better if not get the win.”