Head coach Sean Pender believes if Brunswick High is to become an elite program, it will be through playing games like today’s.
The Pirates (1-2) are set to to travel down to Chris Gilman Stadium for a matchup against 4-0 Camden, the No. 9 team in the state’s highest classification.
“You’ve heard the saying, ‘iron sharpens iron,’ and I think as long as you keep playing against those quality opponents, I really believe it will help us get to where we need to be,” Pender said.
There’s been no shortage of quality opponents dotting the Pirates’ early-season schedule.
Brunswick hosted a Coffee program just two years removed from an appearance in the Class 6A state title game in its opener, and the same was true of Bartram Trail (Fla.) a week later.
Coffee and Bartram Trail are a combined 8-0 on the season with a scoring differential of 311-84. Brunswick played both close, losing both games by a combined score of 62-28.
The 21 points the Pirates scored on Coffee were 13 more than the next closest team. Bartram Trail is coming off of a 32-7 victory over reigning state champion Mandarin.
Camden has been rolling foes in the same vein as Brunswick’s first two opponents thus far this season, and the Pirates are looking to go out and put up another fight.
“Of course we’re looking to win, you always go on the field and look for victory,” Pender said. “But what we’re also looking for is the willingness to compete against these higher-level teams.
“If we can compete against these higher-level teams, and be in the game and be in the mix, it’s getting us prepared for our region play.”
Brunswick has been working to develop more consistency in its offense in recent weeks. The Pirates have moved the ball well between the 20s for the most part, but too often has a poorly timed sack or penalty derail a possession.
But when Brunswick has avoided getting in its own way, the offense has produced to the tune of 374 yards per game — 174 coming on the back of a running game led by a pair of dynamic sophomores in Chuckobe Hill and Khamori Simmons.
The pair each rushed for 97 yards in the last game against McIntosh County Academy running the season totals to 273 for Hill and 210 for Simmons with five touchdowns between them.
If the Brunswick running game can help keep the chains moving, and a suddenly healthy defense plays up to its potential in the return of defensive backs Devin Lafayette and Demetrius Hardee, Camden could be on upset alert.
“We’re really going to rely heavily on our defensive unit to keep improving, keep getting better, and keeping our team in the games and giving us a chance to win at the end,” Pender said.