For the fourth week in a row, Brunswick High will play on the road tonight against the Richmond Hill Wildcats.
Both teams are currently 2-3 on the year as this week opens up region play. Richmond Hill won’t be a pushover as the Wildcats led Camden County for most of the game on Sept. 13 before losing 24-20.
Richmond Hill got its second win of the season last week against Bluffton High out of South Carolina. Before that, the Wildcats lost three in a row to Camden, New Hampstead, and Liberty County.
Brunswick’s coach Sean Pender said that this has been a great week of practice preparing for this first region game and that the crisp Autumn air had his team dialed in this week.
Richmond Hill’s strongest position is likely its defensive front. Pender said they have the size to match up with the Pirate’s offensive line, so he’s challenged that group this week.
“Richmond Hill’s defensive front is legit. That’s the best part of their team,” Pender said. “We’re expecting our offensive line to be able to match up with them, to be able to dictate things. If their defensive line gives us a fit and gets penetration, it could hurt our running game. We want to be two-dimensional in what we’re doing, but our offensive line has to be two-dimensional. We got to control the line of scrimmage in the run game, and we have to be able to pass protect.”
That offensive line has to protect Thunder and Lightning, the running back duo. Ree Simmons and Chuckobe Hill have been a force so far this season. Hill has 73 carries for 480 yards and three touchdowns as he leads the Pirates rushing attack. He averages 6.6 yards a carry, 96 a game, and has already amassed three 100-yard games.
As for his counterpart, Simmons has 40 carries for 285 yards and five scores. However, what’s more, impressive is that he’s averaging 7.1 yards each time he touches the ball.
The last two games for Brunswick have seen the Pirates offense use both senior starting quarterback Anthony Mountain and junior K.J. Lee. Pender said that Mountain’s earned the starting job, and will stick with him unless a change is needed.
“I think they’re both capable quarterbacks, and I think they both deserve playing time,” Pender said. “I do still believe Mountain needs to be the starter of our team, being the leader that he is. He will get the opportunity to start the game, and if things are running smoothly with him and the game’s tight, I’m going to stay with him. But I’m not going to hesitate to put K.J. in because I got confidence in him as well. It just depends on the flow of the game. I got to have them both ready; they’re both ready and getting a good amount of reps. If one is having an off night, I believe the other can step in, or if one goes down, the other will be ready to go. I think both of those guys are solid quality quarterbacks. I’m not going to change a quarterback for the sake of changing it. I’m only going to it if it’s necessary, or we have the game in hand.”
Richmond Hill has its own talented quarterback as well in junior Tyler Coleman. He’s completed 32-of-59 passes for 456 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.
Coleman has plenty of weapons to throw to, but his top target is Jordan Clark. He has 12 catches for 311 yards and three touchdowns. Clark averages 25.9 yards a catch and 62.2 per matchup.
However, like the Pirates, the Wildcats have a running back duo that can hurt defenses.
Senior Jalen Rouse leads the Wildcats with 90 carries 659 yards and eight rushing scores. He’s averaging 7.3 yards a carry and 131.8 a game. Brunswick’s defense top priority is stopping him. If he gets stopped, the Pirates will have to stop junior running back, Ashaud Roberson. He has 19 carries on the year for 125 yards and one score. Roberson is averaging 6.6 yards a touch and can be as elusive as Rouse if needed.
“Richmond Hill’s offense is going to be diverse,” Pender said. “Now that they’ve got No. 12 back they’ll be able to throw the football. I do believe they’re going to try and check our defense in the power run game. They were very successful in running a combination of power and counter against our defense last year, so I think we’re going to see that. I think we’re going to see a heavy dosage of No. 4 in the run game, and I think he’s legit. If we stuff it and we hold that we need to be prepared to see a multitude of players because the quarterback can distribute and he can do good things.”
This week in practice, Pender said that Mountain stood out this week on the offense as he’s building off last week’s confidence booster and that Travon Smith has stepped up his game this week as well.
However, Pender chose to give a shoutout to a freshman defensive lineman who helped provide the offensive line a better look at what the Wildcats defense might do.
“He’s a defensive lineman, Jordan Jimmerson. You talk about standouts, like a Monday through Wednesday, it’s not always a Friday night player,” Pender said. “It was on our scout team, and that kid gave us tremendous looks, tremendous effort, and I would like to give him a shoutout.”
It’s the first region game of the year, and it’s one that the Pirates can continue to build momentum on, so they cannot come out flat. Pender said he wants his group to play with one mindset and play with it each week.
“Like its the state championship game, I want them to come out like its the only game they’re going to be able to play in the entire year, its the only game on the schedule, and its only game in the state of Georgia, and play like it’s the state championship,” Pender said. “Every game, it’s the only one that matters.”
Brunswick and Richmond Hill will battle it out tonight as both teams look to gain that crucial first region win. The Pirates are also looking to continue their win streak to three and keep building their confidence.