Coming off a dominating 54-6 win over Gold Beach at home last Friday, the Brookings-Harbor High School football team boards the bus at week’s end to see if it can keep its momentum going in Bandon.
Bruins head coach Shaun Bavaro, while happy with his team’s performance against the Panthers, told The Pilot that “Gold Beach wasn’t fully up to speed yet and was struggling just to put a team out on the field.”
2A Bandon High School is a bunkmate with Gold Beach High School in Special District 4-South.
Bavaro is aware that Bandon may be a whole different deal than Gold Beach come game day.
For one thing, the Tigers have had ample time to assemble a team, hold practices, and will be at home.
Add to that Bandon’s state playoff swag from last year and one can see why Bavaro is wary.
First, a little history: The Bandon football dynasty is well known from the 1980’s, when then-football coach Don Markum introduced the double-wing to prep football on the south coast and destroyed all comers, often hanging nearly 100 points on opposing teams.
Oregon’s prep “mercy rule” was adopted as a result, to ease teams’ humiliation by ending contests with a running clock once the game reached 45 points.
That was then, this is now. Bandon is 0-1 after dropping its first non-league game, 18-33, to Glide.
Bandon football coach Aaron Freitag’s Tigers finished up last year by taking an impressive second in league (3-1) behind undefeated Coquille.
That record earned the Tigers a ticket to the 2A state playoffs, although their ride was derailed in the first round-by Neah-Kah-Nie, 14-22.
Bavaro assesses Brookings-Harbor’s upcoming competitor this way: “Bandon has some really good, skilled kids, and runs multiple sets and schemes to really keep you on your toes,” he said. “Their QB is a good runner and passer, and that can keep a play alive if needed.”
Bavaro said Bandon also has good team speed and that Freitag has done a nice job of rebuilding the program.
“They have most of their team back from the playoff run they made last year, so it’s a huge challenge for us to improve on all phases of our program,” Bavaro said.
In Brookings’ game at Gold Beach, Bavaro rotated his three starting quarterbacks. Does he plan to do that at Bandon?
“Yes, we will be rotating in our QB’s,” he said. “Our staff now has a plan on how we are evaluating that position, and we have three really good options now at that position.”
Finally, what did the second-year Bruins coach take away from his team’s first game? “We learned that our kids are relentless, and we have some nice schemes on offense and defense that fit our athletes’ abilities well.”
That said, “We still have room for improvement in all phases of the game,” he said. “We (coaches) need to be more efficient in our subbing, so that our players can continue to play with relentless effort every day.”
Randy Robbins has covered Curry County sports for radio and print for 20 years. See his online recaps of Bruin football immediately following each of the games at www.currypilot.com.