The weather for the Providence Bowl, the annual rivalry football game between RBHS and the crosstown Hickman Kewpies, couldn’t have been a better descriptor of the two teams’ seasons up to that point. With the sky downcast and dark, the two teams found themselves on Wayne Sells Field both winless and in desperate need of some sunshine to jumpstart the season.
For RBHS head coach Joe Collier, who was facing the school’s rival for the first time at the top job, the much-needed break in the storm came in the form of senior running back Kian Pilot and sophomore quarterback Marcus Manuel. With Pilot scoring 2 running touchdowns, and Manuel keeping the Kewpie secondary constantly at a loss for where he’d strike next, the Bruins’ offense was rarely stopped.
Coach Collier took the great performances in with a straight face, only smiling once the final whistle blew, capping off a 48-21 rout of Hickman. No longer are the winless days in the Collier era of RBHS football, and the victor of the Providence Bowl couldn’t have been more happy about it.
“What I’m most excited about for this win is the kids,” Collier said. “I do it for them, and to see them so happy meant the world to me. They totally deserved it all.”
Tonight, Manuel exemplified the winning charisma Collier enjoyed so much. Despite the fact that his experience as the Bruins’ starting quarterback has been little so far, he has already beaten the Kewpies as an underclassman. Filling the shoes of junior Trevor Twehous after his collarbone injury was at first a rough endeavor, and yet somehow Manuel finds himself with a passing touchdown and his first win as a starter.
“To beat Hickman as a sophomore is just unbelievable, it’s really a great feeling,” Manuel said. “The offense just really clicked against them tonight which was incredible to see. [It was] even better to see it against them.”
The celebrations must be short-lived, however, as next week’s contest on Sep. 22 sees RBHS go against another division rival in the Jefferson City Jays. Though maybe not as exciting as the Providence Bowl, every contest from here on out is a stepping stone to the playoffs, which Collier realizes is only a possibility if his team executes as efficiently as they did tonight.
“I see Jeff City as just as big of a game,” Collier said. “They’ve been a longtime rival so I expect that we play them like one and keep moving forward in the season as we head toward playoffs.”
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