Brunswick High heads for its second straight road game as the Pirates travel to Monroe High on Friday night to take on the Hurricanes.
After starting 0-2, the Pirates have swapped wins and losses the last three games and to reach 2-3 on the season. Brunswick’s looking to build a two-game win streak ahead of region play next week.
“Honestly, it’s been a great practice week,” Brunswick coach Sean Pender said. “We really zoned in. It was a good win for us last Friday, and that kind of helped us get to where our focus needs to be. The kids have been working really hard, and I think we’re in good shape.”
Monroe is a team that Pender said is very similar to New Hampstead and one that runs a very similar defense to the Pirates.
“Monroe’s full of athletes,” Pender said. “They are very good on the defensive side of the ball where New Hampstead was very good on the offensive side of the ball. Coach Truitt is their head coach, and he is a defensive-minded guy, and they run a similar defense to what our defense is. So we’re used to seeing it.
“So we’re used to seeing what they do, and hopefully it’ll give us a little bit of an advantage in that aspect. Monroe’s got some players that can make plays on the perimeter, and they got two different quarterbacks they roll with. On the defensive side of the ball, they try to outnumber you in the box and force you to throw the football.”
Last week, Brunswick’s starting quarterback Anthony Mountain went out with a nagging injury, and KJ Lee came in and helped the team to a comeback victory. However, Pender said there will be no change in who gets the nod. Both quarterbacks could see action tonight.
“Anthony will still start,” Pender said. “His progress is getting better, but he is still not 100 percent. KJ did a phenomenal job last week coming in for Ant. So he’s much better this week. Ant still deserves to start; KJ’s had a good week too. They had about an equal amount of reps in practice. Do plan on seeing KJ in the game, and he’s earned the right to play. Based on the long term stuff, Ant still deserves then starting nod.”
One of the Pirate’s biggest strengths this year has been their talented running back duo. Ree Simmons and Chuckobe Hill have shared carries with each other, and Pender said this week will be no different. He said they’re going to use them like they have each week.
“When we’re in a 20 personnel package, they’re both in the game and 10 personnel they both rotate. And it rotates based on the way they’re feeling,” Pender said. “Last week, Chuckobe had more of the hot hand. Ree was sick last week, and he had the flu. So, he didn’t get as many reps in practice and doing that, he fumbled the football, and was a little off-key. We kept giving the ball to Chuckobe, and then we give the ball back to Ree, and he did help close us out with two great runs at the end.”
The Pirates got their second win of the season last week, and it gave the players a much-needed confidence boost. Pender said that it gave his team some momentum, but that it has to continue this week. One win doesn’t mean anything in the long run.
“We haven’t done anything yet,” Pender said. “When you look at the big picture, we still have a losing record at 2-3. We need to get this momentum going heading into region play, and we need to get this win. Yeah, it felt good getting that win, but because you got a win doesn’t mean you arrived. We just have to teach our players that you always try to keep working and you always got to be pushing, don’t ever be satisfied with the way you are.”
Pender said that this is the message they preach over and over to the team, and even though they only began using this message last week, it’s helped the team work harder, and he’s noticed some changes.
“We preach it all the time to them, and when we have a satisfactory practice, and we don’t really raise the bar, we’re going to make sure they know it all the time. Like hey, you’ve got to get better,” Pender said. “We always tell the kids too, practice like it’s the last one you’re going to have. Pretend that it’s your senior year, that you’re going into senior night, pretend there is no college football. This is it; this is your last practice, and at the end of the day, can you look at yourself and say did I give my all at this practice. Am I prepared as much as I should be? If you say no, then you shouldn’t be satisfied with where you are at.”
While the Pirates have their offensive weapons in place, they’ll still be without a crucial defensive player. Senior Freddie Towns will be out this week due to a shoulder injury. Pender said that hopefully, he will be back in a few weeks and back to helping out the defense.
Brunswick’s on its third road game in a row, and the Pirates will look to keep their newly found confidence against the Hurricanes and get its second victory in a row before they head into a tough region schedule.