Fresh off of an emotional 21-13 win over cross-parish rival Port Allen, the Brusly Panthers are set to face an unfamiliar foe this week in the Northlake Christian Wolverines in Covington.
Teams in the LHSAA are typically locked into two-year schedules and this was the second year that the Panthers were supposed to face St. John, but the Eagles decided to play another opponent, according to Brusly head coach Hoff Schooler.
Northlake Christian enters the game with an 0-1 following a 23-0 loss at Bogalusa last week. The Wolverines reside in District 8-2A with likes of 2A powerhouses Amite and St. Helena College and Career Academy.
Northlake ended the 2017 season with a 3-8 record, which included a first-round playoff exit.
After reviewing the film from last week’s game, Schooler said some things stood out from his squad’s victory.
“We played hard, the effort’s there,” he said. “We had some penalties and turnovers in the red zone that we need to clean up, but overall, we played well on both sides of the ball. For the first time out, first time with live action, we did pretty good.”
Even with the buildup and the physical and emotional toll a game like the Sugar Cane Classic can have on a team, Schooler said the team’s preparation doesn’t change as they prepare to head to Covington.
“The motivation is the same every week,” he said. “ It’s not different because it was Port Allen. We’re trying to go out and win games.”
The coach said not playing the Wolverines last year, adds a level of mystery to Friday’s game.
“It’s something like a playoff game, since we didn’t see them last year,” he said. “You try and gameplan for what you think you might see, but things could be different once we get on the field. It’s more about doing what we need to do.”
Brusly’s success against Port Allen started with the guys on the offensive line, and Schooler said he expects them to play a pivotal role against Northlake Christian.
“It’s kind of hard to see on film how our offensive line matches up with their defensive line, but I feel good about our guys up front against anyone,” Schooler proclaimed.