"It will take us playing a solid four quarters of football to beat them.” So says Brookings-Harbor High School football coach Shaun Bavaro about the St. Mary’s Crusaders.
The Bruins have come a long way this season. “Undefeated” has a nice ring to it, sure enough. Even if Brookings didn't win another game, this would still go down as one of the Blue and Gold's most successful seasons in a long time.
But no chest beating just yet. The 3A Bruins know full well that if their schedule were compared to a buffet, BHHS has gotten to eat its dessert first - with heaping helpings of 2A clubs Gold Beach 54-6, Bandon 28-14, Rogue River 42-18, and Lakeview 38-15.
Next came some pleasing 3A Special District 2 South side dishes: South Umpqua 35-14, and Douglas last week 38-25.
It should be noted that Brookings has been notoriously slow out of the gate, often scoring a single (or zero) touchdown in the first quarter of these aforementioned contests. Then, usually after halftime, adjustments are made and Brookings explodes like dynamite, in either the third of fourth quarter, to put up three or four touchdowns and blow close games out of the water.
That has been the history up until now, anyway.
This week’s game at St. Mary's takes a decided uptick in the level of competition. While it is true the Bruins occupy the top slot in league at 6-0, as the No. 1-ranked team in the state, St. Mary's third-place position in the standings at 4-2 should offer a cautionary tale.
The Crusaders’ only losses came by way of the heavyweight Hidden Valley Mustangs, 26-49, and St. Mary’s came within two points of Portland's tough Amity, 32-34, back in the first game of the year.
The idea that St. Mary's was able to hang with these two schools - and given the private schools’ athletic tradition of winning - should give the most-ardent Bruins fans reason to put the fantastic wins, as pleasing as they are, to the side.
It's time to find out how good the Bruins really are, and nothing measures that like great competition.
This week, St. Mary's. Then, Cascade Christian. And finally, the big, bad Hidden Valley.
Bavaro knows what he and his team are up against this Friday. "St. Mary's has great team speed, size and playmakers all over the field. We need to have a solid week of practice in preparing for what will be a great high school football game."
In comparison games, both schools beat Gold Beach by exactly the same margin, 54-6, but the scale-tipper might be the Douglas contest. The Crusaders smacked the Trojans 60-20, while the Bruins beat them 38-25. A closer point spread, although BHHS wasn't up to full strength, lacking the services of Tuttle and Zamora, who will both be back in action on Friday when the Bruins bus rolls into Medford.
Brookings has depth and capable quarterbacks at its disposal in Hooper and Holler, each with their own unique skill set. Zamora has been consistent getting real estate from his running back spot, and the Bruins bring enough looks offensively and are stingy on defense to look competitive here.
Another consideration has to be penalties and turnovers. Whoever controls these may very well have the edge in this high-stakes game, which likely has playoff ramifications.
Randy Robbins has covered Curry County sports in print and on radio for 20 years. Catch his instant Friday-night online recaps on The Pilot website, currypilot.com.