The St. Joseph Bruins will be out to slay dragons this week as they open Class 2A Region 4 play at Pisgah.
This will be the region opener for both teams and feature two very good ground attacks.
The Bruins (2-3) are coming off a gutsy one point loss at McAdams 14-13. St. Joe fell behind 14-0 at the half, but then shutout the Bulldogs in the second half and mounted a valiant fourth quarter comeback scoring all its points in the final frame. Bruins Head Coach John Bond has seen his team amass more than 600 rushing yards through the first four games. Junior quarterback Chris Watson took over after the second game of the season and has racked up 166 yards, averaging nearly 10 yards a carry. Senior running back Kevin May is the workhorse with 362 yards and five touchdowns and Senior Clifton Goodloe IV had 92 yards and a touchdown according to stats listed on MaxPreps through four weeks.
On defense, St. Joe is led by Goodloe with a team leading 30 tackles. He’s joined by Seniors Josh Briscoe (29 tackles), Kevin May (18 tackles and two interceptions), Josh Everette (two interceptions) and Junior Chris Watson (24 tackles and a fumble recovery). Coach Bond did not respond to requests for comment.
Pisgah (2-4) comes into the game on the heels of a shootout loss at Lake 47-41. Dragons Head Coach Michael Granberry says overall records don’t mean a thing now that region play is here.
“We know them very well and they know us”, said Granberry. “This game is always competitive and we know Coach Bond will have his kids ready.”
The Bruins will look to running back Kyshun Gates to propel the offense. Gates, a junior, rushed for 427 yards and five touchdowns through the first four games. Senior running back Khaleel Evans has rumbled for 188 yards and two touchdowns and senior quarterback Jackson
See St. Joe vs Pisgah, Page Swales had 155 yards and three scores on the ground as well.
They have played well, but we haven’t been in a good rhythm offensively. We are suffering from a lack of depth with several injuries to linemen and we’ve had some kids unable to play because they chose the distance learning option during due to COVID which means they aren’t allowed to play football,” said Granberry.
The Bruins will need to avoid kicking the ball to Khaleel Evans as he averages more than 40 yards per kickoff return and taken two back for touchdowns.
The key for both teams in this very unusual, COVID shortened season, is simply learning and counting your blessings from each game according to Granberry.
“It’s been so strange, a different feel from week to week. Thankfully we’ve haven’t had any quarantines,” noted Granberry. “Our defense has been our strength. We just need to clean-up ball handling, stop making penalties and I think we will be fine.”
This match-up sets up to be an old school, smash mouth style game that will be won in the trenches by whichever offensive line opens the most holes and exerts their will on the other.
Pisgah leads the all-time series 8-3, most recently winning 33-7 in 2019. St. Joe’s last win in the series came in 2013 with a 21-0 shutout.St. Joe and Pisgah will face off 7 p.m., Friday, October 9 in Pisgah. The game starts at 7 p.m.
Bruins’ Keys to Victory:
Close the gates on Gates: Kyshun Gates is the spark that lights the Dragons fire. Slow him down and keep him out of the endzone.
Control the Clock: The Bruins can grind out the clock with a solid ground game.
At a Glance:
Class/Division: Class 2A, Region 4 (MHSAA)
Head Coach: John Bond
Assistant Coaches: Jason Moore, David Streit and Mark Wilson
2020 Record: 2-2