Game of the Week: Rock Bridge at Hickman
COLUMBIA - Less than five miles separate two of the largest schools in Missouri and a larger-than-life rivalry. The Rock Bridge Bruins will make the trip to Hickman High School looking to avenge a 10-7 overtime loss in the 2012 District Playoffs. Hickman has won the previous two meetings. It's a change of scenery for the two schools, which are accustomed to playing at Faurot Field.
Who: Rock Bridge Bruins (3-1) at Hickman Kewpies (2-2)
When: Friday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.
Where: Hickman High School, LeMone Field, 1104 N. Providence Road, Columbia, Mo., 65203
Distance: 4.5 miles, or about an eight minute drive
Significance: Friday's game is the first time the Providence Bowl will not be hosted at MU's Faurot Field since 2003.
Rock Bridge Bruins: The Bruins come into Friday's game ranked fifth in the state in Class Six football, but they are also coming off of a 31-21 loss to Raymore-Peculiar (2-2) last week. Head coach A.J. Ofodile returned 16 lettermen to the squad, 13 of them starters, and the team will need everyone to step up for the rivalry. Ofodile said he doesn't know what to expect from Hickman. He also said the team is doing nothing different preparing for the Kewpies. The Bruins should be aiming to put up big numbers on the scoreboard, as they have scored over 40 points in three of four games this season. The Bruins arguably play one of the toughest schedules in Class 6, and they still have to travel to Kansas City powerhouse Rockhurst in two weeks. The Bruins keep need their focus on this week and not look too far ahead in their schedule.
Player to watch: Logan Twehous, junior QB - Twehous, 5-foot-11, 185, is the heart of the Bruin's offense. The All-District quarterback must step-up and make throws. Luckily, on his side is one of the best receivers in the state in senior Zach Reuter. Standing at 6-foot-3, 190, Twehous should look to Reuter frequently, as he already has targeted Reuter for seven touchdowns this season. When Twehous and the Bruins go to the air, they need to watch out for Hickman's secondary, which can change the momentum quick with mistakes. Despite his 16 touchdown throws this season, the quarterback cannot make mistakes, especially in a rivalry game where momentum can switch in an instant. Twehous carries the ability to move his feet when necessary, and he should utilize it when he rushed out of the pocket by the Kewpies. Smart decisions on offense will lead to a victory for the Bruins.
Hickman Kewpies: It has been a less than ideal start head coach Arnel Monroe and the Kewpies expected. The Kewpies returned 15 of 22 starters from their 9-2 2012 season, yet the team enters the Providence Bowl with a .500 record. The Kewpies looked better in week four with a big win over Helias, 27-17. This year's host of the rivalry game can use the momentum from last week's game and bring confidence into this week. After stunning Helias, the Kewpies should walk onto LeMone Field ready to protect its turf and not give up scores. Rock Bridge will bring multiple weapons on the offensive side and the Kewpies defense must step up. The Kewpies allow just 17.75 points per game, but the Bruins like to score. Keeping the game close will play in Hickman's favor to win.
Player to watch: Grant Jones, senior TE - The Missouri recruit will be the target for the Kewpies on offense. The 6-foot-3 tight end can go up and haul down catches in big games. Last year, Jones caught the game-winning touchdown in the regular season Providence Bowl at Faurot Field. Jones assisted in last week's upset victory over Helias with a fourth-quarter touchdown reception. The playmaker can use his size and speed to make a big catch or two, which could be the difference in the game.
Prediction: With a rivalry game, anything can happen. This game will come down to the final drives of the game. Rock Bridge's offense comes in clutch and drives down the field in the final minutes to win the first Providence Bowl away from Faurot Field in ten years.
Rock Bridge: 35
Other game to watch: De Smet (2-2) at Jefferson City (2-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
Two of the best teams in the state enter the fifth week of the season with .500 records and both are searching for a win. De Smet will travel from St. Louis looking to hand the Jays its third consecutive loss.
Be sure to watch Friday Night Fever at 10 p.m on Friday night to see how your favorite team fared in week five.