Posted: Jul 16, 2014 9:43 AM
Updated: Sep 5, 2014 11:10 PM
|8 / 22||South Shelby||Home||Win||43 - 8|
|8 / 29||Highland||Away||Win||48 - 0|
|9 / 5||Marceline||Away||Win||47 - 20|
|9 / 12||Centralia||Home||Win||40 - 7|
|9 / 19||Louisiana||Away||Win||62 - 14|
|9 / 26||Monroe City||Home||Win||28 - 0|
|10 / 3||Macon||Away||Win||54 - 13|
|10 / 10||Palmyra||Home||Win||34 - 6|
|10 / 17||Clark County||Away||Win||41 - 0|
|10 / 24||Trenton||Home||Win||56 - 13|
|10 / 31||Lawson||Home||Win||44 - 14|
|11 / 7||East Buchanan (District Championship)||Home||Loss||34 - 50|
2013 was yet another solid year for the Brookfield Bulldogs, and Head Coach Nile Thudium still wonders what could have been. "The injury bug hit before the season began," he says. "This really limited our offensive production, however we found ways to win tight ballgames." The Bulldogs, after two tough losses later in the season, decided it was time for a change in offensive philosophy. This change produced two 42-point outings in a row, including a first-round victory in districts over Trenton. They lost in the following week to Lawson, a state finalist. Says Thudium, "Overall, it was another productive season, but our players are hungry for more." It's that type of attitude that has helped to make Brookfield so successful during Thudium's tenure there.
The Bulldogs return 15 lettermen to this year's squad, including seven offensive starters. This should be where Brookfield's bread and butter lies. They will employ a shotgun zone fly offense, and have the personnel to do it. Even if they were running a Power-I offense, success would start on the O-line, and Thudium knows it. "We return the bulk of our offensive line from a year ago," he says. "This group struggled at times, but we expect them to be greatly improved." Four starters are back, and they're all seniors. Call it a coach's dream. The group is led by Ryan Elliott (6-4, 285), an Honorable Mention All-Conference player. He's again joined by Dexter Carmichael (5-9, 280), Trevor White (5-9, 260), and Quincy Cooper (6-3, 215). This group boasts immense size and vast experience. Chances are, they'll be too much to handle for most defensive lines. A nice summer in the weight room will make them even more effective in 2014. Junior David Keller (5-9, 220) will start as well, and senior Adam Palmer (6-2, 190), junior Logan Leamons (5-9, 235), and sophomore Kaleb Gardner (6-0, 235) provide excellent depth.
Senior Anthony Cupp (5-11, 150) is set to be the Bulldogs starting QB once again. Cupp had a decent 2013 campaign, perhaps relying too heavily on his legs at times. He's been working on his arm accuracy all off-season, after throwing at a roughly 50% completion rate, racking up 8 TDs and 9 INTs in 2013. If he can cut down on the turnovers and make a few more big plays here and there, he can be a very effective QB for the Bulldogs. Junior RB Reed McBroom (5-11, 195) will be the centerpiece of the Brookfield offense. He had a fine sophomore season, rushing 125 times for 515 yards and 4 TDs, earning Honorable Mention All-Conference honors. He was a scary runner between the tackles last year, and additional strength will only make him tougher to bring down in 2014. Senior Gage Maxwell (5-8, 155) will be McBroom's main backup, and Keller could even see some carries at RB as well.
The Bulldogs don't appear to be especially deep at WR in 2014. Senior Matt Casebolt (6-2, 160) will be the main target out wide, along with junior Tucker Noble (6-1, 175). Junior Seth Speichinger (6-0, 165) will also have the ball thrown his way. A versatile player, Speichinger could even see some snaps under center.
Brookfield returns five starters to a defense that allowed only 12 points per game last season, and just over 200 total yards.
Thudium believes that the success of the Bulldogs defense this season will start in the middle of the field. "We have a very solid group of athletic, physical LBs," he says. McBroom is the leader of this LB corps, and the defense as a whole. He had an incredible sophomore season on defense, compiling 127 tackles, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 defensive TD. He was awarded a slew of accolades, including First Team All-District, Second Team All-Conference, and Third Team All-State. He'll again pair with senior Dean Gall (5-9, 155), who had 81 tackles and 1 INT in 2013. Maxwell will join them as a starter at LB this season.
Junior Matt Teter (6-3, 195) is again back at DE. He had a sophomore campaign similarly successful to McBroom's, gathering 85 tackles, 5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. He was named to the All-Conference and All-District first teams, and the All-State third team. Senior Quincy Cooper (6-3, 225), who also had 5 sacks, is back on the D-line as well. Palmer, Leamons, and Gardner will all see a good deal of time at DL this year. Senior Anthony Cupp is the only starter back in the secondary.
After recording 37 tackles and 3 INTs, he was a second-team All-District and Honorable Mention All-Conference player last year. Speichinger, Casebolt, and Noble will round out the secondary. The Brookfield Bulldogs bring a fairly experienced, well-rounded team to the Clarence Cannon Conference in 2014. It's here that Thudium believes the play will be fierce but beneficial. "We believe the great competition we face in this conference will eventually pay off for us when we reach district play," he says. As always, expect the Bulldogs to be in the hunt come late October.
Pigskin's Pick: 7-2