The Brookings-Harbor Bruin football team is on a roll.
Granted, it's early yet. There are plenty of games with tough opponents laying ahead for the Blue and Gold. But for now …
Two games, two convincing wins: 54-6 over Gold Beach, and last Friday’s 28-14 victory at Bandon.
A closer look reveals a depth at skill positions that has returned from last year. Perhaps most importantly, a team - and apparently a community - that has bought into second-year coach Shaun Bavaro's program.
It hasn't always been this way.
Brookings historically suffered through turnovers at the head-coaching spot. That, in turn, created an atmosphere in which building any kind of momentum was a challenge.
For years, Brookings football fans enviously watched as the Gold Beach Panthers repeatedly captured league crowns and made five trips to the state championship. Why can't we?
It's truly too early, after just a couple of games, to say where this season may go. There are the same heavyweight contenders in Cascade Christian, Hidden Valley and St. Mary's to deal with. But for now, the feeling around town is upbeat. Bruin fever is starting to spread.
This Friday, Brookings looks to extend its win streak by hosting another 2A team, the Rogue River Chieftains, out of the Rogue Valley. Bavaro has looked over that team and sizes it up this way:
"They operate out of a similar wing-T, or pistol, offense that we saw at Bandon. They use motion a lot to gain man advantages on the outside. Their quarterback is very good, they have great size up front and
solid running backs.
"On defense,” said Bavaro, “they like four down men, with man coverage on the back end. Their linebackers fly to the ball very well, so they’re hard to run against. We may need to look to the air more in this game."
Rogue River comes into Brookings 1-1 on the season, with a 24-8 win over Lakeview and a close loss to Culver, 16-19.
Last week, the Bruins got into penalty trouble, although that’s not uncommon at this early point in the season. Here's Bavaro’s take on that:
"We continue to teach and develop our kids. It doesn't always show, but we are making small strides in that area - of course, never as fast as we coaches would like,” he chuckles. As for what most impresses him about this team: "To fix some things at halftime, like we did at Bandon, and then come out and play well, shows us that our kids are relentless.
"If we continue to have that (mindset), we will have a chance to win in any game we play."
Randy Robbins has been covering Curry County sports on radio and print for more than 20 years. Catch his instant recaps following the Brookings football games online at www.currypilot.com.