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Football Lookahead: Brooke, John Marshall Both 3-5 But Headed in Different Directions

October 31, 2013
By DAVE MORRISON , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

It appears to be a battle of teams going in opposite directions.

Appearances can be deceiving.

When Brooke (3-5) travels to John Marshall (3-5) it's easy to spot the obvious fact that Brooke has reeled off back-to-back victories while John Marshall has lost four straight.

An examination of the schedule, however, reveals that the Bruins schedule, one of the toughest in the state, was loaded at the top, while the Monarchs', who started the season 3-1, is bottom heavy.

Brooke played the likes of Morgantown, University, Steubenville, Wheeling Park and Point Pleasant in a tough top portion of the season, while John Marshall is finishing off the season with Morgantown, University and next week, Wheeling Park.

For Brooke coach Sean Blumette, it was all about reaching the bye, after a 1-5 start, the lone victory against Allderdice, Pa.

"We knew once we got to our bye, the bottom half (of the schedule) wasn't on the same level as the top half," Blumette said. "After we lost to Morgantown, University, Big Red and Park, we got down on ourselves. That really hurt us in our game against Point Pleasant (to start the second half). The bye hit us at a good time, and we've used that to springboard into our current run."

The victories have come against Parkersburg South and Weir.

Instead of getting down, the Bruins all of a sudden are a team that must guard against being overconfident.

"John Marshall has a tough team, they are fundamentally sound and Coach (Rick) Goodrich does a good job of having them prepared," Blumette said. "John Marshall is always a tough environment in which to play. We can't go down there thinking they are anything but what they are, which is a good team that is better than their record indicates."

For Goodrich, the goal is simple, coming off an impressive showing against Morgantown in a 21-7 loss.

"I know (Kennedy Award candidate) Chazzy (Thomas) wasn't playing but they still have some some other good players on that team," Goodrich said. "I think our kids gained a lot of confidence last Friday. Hopefully that will be a shot in the arm moving forward."

John Marshall has been hampered by a nagging leg injury to standout senior running back Trevor Hardesty, who has still managed to rush for 674 yards on 150 carries with nine touchdowns, all which lead the team.

"It's a shame because nobody works as hard as he does in the weight room and in practice," Goodrich said. "He's been trying to fight through it. He's showing a lot of toughness and a lot of leadership."

"They have a good backfield, with the big, tough kid of kids coach Goodrich likes to have in the backfield," Blumette said. "There quarterback has done a fine job as well."

Quarterback Noah Martin is 56 of 97 for 770 yards with five touchdowns.

Brooke is coming off a big victory against Weir in which Nick Ossman rush for a career-best 225 yards on five carries with four touchdowns. He has 710 yards on 119 carries and nine touchdowns.

Quarterback Aaron Walker has completed 68 of 121 passes for 754 yards and four touchdowns. He is also among the team leaders in rushing.

There are still goals for both teams.

Blumette said the Bruins are still mathematically alive for a potential postseason berth.

"We told the kids after the bye that it was a four-game season and if they wanted an opportunity to keep playing we have to go 4-0," Blumette said. "They've stepped up so far and accepted that challenge."

With Wheeling Park looming, John Marshall would like to get another victory.

"We haven't won four games here since 2007 when they were 7-3," Goodrich said. "Hopefully we can continue to improve so our kids can go into the offseason with some confidence."

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