Amity. If that name sounds familiar, the Bruins need only look as far back as last year - when Brookings was eliminated in the first round of the 3A state football playoffs, 6-52.
It's a painful look in the mirror, to be sure. Best not to dwell on that.
Coach Shaun Bavaro and his players, sporting a 6-3 record, are hoping to avoid a repeat of last season when Brookings-Harbor High School heads to Amity this Saturday, Nov. 9.
A year has passed. What’s changed for Amity High School? Not much.
The Warriors, under 16-year coach Joel Magill, are still all of that. Ranked No. 4, Amity (7-2 overall) lost 16 seniors to graduation, but seems not to have noticed.
The Yamhill County team nearly went the distance last year, losing to Cascade Christian 24-49 in the state semifinals. The Challengers, in turn, lost to Rainier 14-44 in the championship game.
This year, Amity has already beaten the defending champs 24-20 in league play. A comparison game had the Warriors edging St. Mary's 34-32, a team that No. 13-ranked Brookings lost to two weeks ago 3-14.
The Bruins have taken three hard hits in succession, at the hands of some of the best teams in the state. The old adage “what doesn't kill you makes you stronger” may apply here.
Can the Bruins stay close to the Warriors? Hmm ...
Amity features grueling, smash-mouth football operating out of a wing-T formation, much like No. 1 Hidden Valley. They grind down their competitors by amassing huge chunks on the ground, often totaling more than 250 yards, and taking away the other team’s ability to get their offense on the field and score points.
Therein may lay the Bruins’ best shot. The Warriors aren't big in the air, due to their ground game; they don't have to be. If the Bruins can quickly sting the Warriors with their air force - if Hooper and Holler can connect with Tuttle and the other Bruin wide receivers, getting some points on the board in a hurry - then things could get interesting.
One thing is certain. The level of competition is intense at the state playoff level. Yet Brookings has been living that reality for the past three weeks against top-notch opponents. At least the Bruins know full well what to expect.
Game time Saturday in Amity is 1 p.m.
Hear live-stream coverage on Oregon School Athletics Association radio affiliates. The Pilot will have an instant online recap of the action following the game at www.currypilot.com.