Football Preview: Providence Bowl Edition
#5 Rock Bridge (3-1) vs. Hickman (2-2)
7:00 p.m. Friday Sept. 27 at LeMone Field (HHS)
Spread: Bruins by 1
For the first time since 2003, the rivalry game will not be held at Faurot Field on the University of Missouri campus. Rather, it will be played at Hickman, as was last year’s district semifinal game.
Tensions, as always, will be high at the game, as the Bruins look to avenge their losses to the Kewpies last year. HHS took the 2012 Providence Bowl 22-21, and the rematch in district semifinal game 10-7 in overtime.
However, the two squads come into tonight’s games in different places than last season. Unranked HHS improved to 2-2 after a comeback victory against Helias last week. RBHS’s ranking dropped from second to fifth in the state poll after suffering their first defeat at home against Raymore-Peculiar 31-21. The Bruins’ potent offense was silenced as they scored no points in the second half.
Breaking it down:
The Bruins’ offense played uncharacteristically sloppily last week, racking up numerous penalties that broke momentum and turned gains into losses. If they can return to form, veteran quarterback and junior Logan Twehous can provide the pace-setting passes to standout wide receiver and senior Zach Reuter, who now has seven touchdown receptions. Junior star recruit Alex Ofodile and senior Antwon Turnage provide other tall targets. Eli Stout and Tarus Moore can help provide ground support, while Twehous’ quick decision-making in the pocket allows for long scrambles.
For the Kewpies, star tight end and Mizzou recruit Grant Jones could be the difference-maker. He caught the game-winning touchdown in last year’s Providence Bowl, and has been a frequent target for HHS quarterback Mason Murray. Beyond that, the Kewpie defense needs to stop the Bruins’ passing game, though that’s easier said than done. It’s not impossible, however, as was proven by Ray-Pec’s second half dominance.
Key stats and matchups:
- Twehous has a 65% completion rate, and averages 14.3 yards per reception. He has 16 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He leads the area with 1,300 passing yards.
- Murray has a 47% completion rate, but averages 20.5 yards per reception. He has thrown for only 7 touchdowns and 574 yards, with 2 interceptions. Don’t look too much into those number, though, as much of his skill is on the scramble.
- Reuter and Ofodile have combined for 777 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns for the Bruins. Reuter averages 18 yard per carry, while Ofodile has 10.7.
- The Kewpies’ Roderick Beasley leads his team with 10 receptions for 230 yards, an impressive average of 23 yards per touch. He has 3 touchdowns.
Though my choice of RBHS last week turned out to be wrong, that won’t make a difference in making a pick in this game of cross-town rivals.
The Providence Bowl, easily the most emotional game of the season for these two schools, looks to be a much more interesting matchup than it did two weeks ago when RBHS had opened its season 3-0 and HHS had disappointed with a 1-2 record. The game looks to be a classic, though when is it not? In the end, Twehous and Co. will rebound from last week’s underwhelming performance and pull out the win over Murray’s Kewpies, exacting revenge from last year’s heartbreaking defeats.
By Brett Stover