When the Brookings-Harbor High School football team hosts the Cascade Christian Challengers this Friday, there’s a lot on the line.
Currently, the Bruins are in a three-way tie for second place in the 3A Special District-South Conference with the Challengers, along with St. Mary's, which edged Brookings last week 14-3 to hand the Blue and Gold their first loss of the year.
All three are 2-1 going into the weekend, behind league leader and No. 1-ranked 3A juggernaut Hidden Valley.
What does all that mean for Team Bavaro? It depends.
With two league games left on the docket and four teams jockeying for the top three positions, which would earn those teams a shot at post-season play in the 3A Oregon Schools Athletic Association, the stakes are high indeed.
Think of it as musical chairs. Four teams, three chairs. And the music is getting ready to stop. Not much time left.
Brookings played a competitive game against St. Mary's even though the Crusaders prevailed by 11. And Bruins coach Shaun Bavaro found a silver lining. "We finally played all four quarters."
That was a reference to the Bruins’ season-long habit of checking out in some quarters, then showing up and wreaking havoc on bewildered competitors who had thought they had Brookings dialed in.
Bavaro knows that if Brookings is going to continue to be competitive and have a chance at grabbing one of those coveted playoff chairs, his Bruins will need to bring their best.
"Cascade Christian is a very good team,” said Bavaro. “They are very disciplined and fly to the ball well on defense. They have some really good playmakers on offense and can take it the distance on any play."
The Challengers have been all of that. A quick look at their record shows that coach Jon Gettman's troops – he’s in his 10th season at the helm - have been prolific offensively, scoring 316 points, while their stingy defense has allowed a miserly 84.
That's an average of 45-12 per contest. On the other hand, three of those games were shutouts, and against Douglas the Trojans netted just 2 points on a safety.
Still, "We will need to tackle great and keep things in front of us,” said Bavaro. “On offense, we will need to execute and be multiple in our formations to keep their defense guessing."
Randy Robbins has covered Curry County sports in print and on the radio for 20 years. Catch his instant online recaps immediately following the Bruins’ football games on The Pilot's website, www.currypilot.com.