Before last Friday’s football game against University High, Brusly head coach Hoff Schooler said that he and his coaches challenged the team to get off to a fast start.
The Panthers answered with a score in the second play of the game, but in the end, were unable to do much more on either side of the ball, losing to the Cubs 56-12.
It began with Harrison Boudreaux intercepting U-High quarterback John Gordon McKernan for an 11-yard pick-six to give the Panthers the lead, the first time this season that the Cubs have trailed.
“Any time you can score defensively, it raises the excitemet level for players,” Schooler said.
Unfortunately for Brusly, their lead didn’t last long as a three-play, 55-yard drive gave U-High the 7-6 lead in what was a disastrous first half for the Panthers.
U-High went six-for-seven in the first half on scoring drives.
Schooler said that the biggest problem for Brusly defensively was the Cubs’ starting field position.
“When an opponent starts at midfield or better, they can afford to be more aggressive and take some shots that they would not normally take when backed up to their own end zone,” Schooler said. “The times they started out backed up, we got stops or scored defensively.”
In fact, scoring defensively was the only way the Panthers got on the board. U-High’s defense allowed the Brusly offense zero points.
Brusly went three-and-out on its first four offensive possessions and went on to punt eight times with only a total of 123 yards.
The Panthers’ sophomore quarterback Nick Penell was almost completely shut down by the Cubs. He had more yards rushing (47) than passing (13).
“They are talented up front defensively, and they have guys in the backend that are good tacklers who run to the ball every play,” Schooler said. “That combination makes it tough for anyone to score points on them as their schedule shows.”
At halftime, Schooler said that they didn’t talk about adjusting a scheme or alignment, but focused on adjusting their mind set.
“We have to learn not to have to play our game and not focus on who our opponent is for that week,” Schooler said. “We talked about being tougher both mentally and physically.”
The second half went much better for the Panthers, and they were able to focus on stopping the Cubs offense.
“In the second half we did a better job of tackling, and we were able to possess the ball more offensively,” Schooler said.
Another defensive touchdown hit the board when Brusly sophomore Marlon Wilson forced a fumble, recovering in the end zone for the Panthers’ second defensive touchdown
“Once again, field position was key. [The Cubs] were backed up on their end of the field and it narrows what they can do from an offensive standpoint,” Schooler said. “It was a result of our guys playing hard regardless of the scoreboard.”