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The Orrick Bearcats and Braymer Bobcats will take a step back in time Friday night as they get together for a meeting that dates back to the old days of the now-defunct Central Rivers Conference. When the Bearcats travel to Braymer to meet the Bobcats Friday night, it will be their first meeting since Pat Richard became coach of the Bearcats nine years ago.
Richard said he is not concerned about renewing the rivalry, but more concerned about the playoff implications in this Class 1, District 13 matchup.
“Both teams are 1-0 and if you look at it, whoever wins this game has taken a huge step to winning the district,” Richard said. “The way the district format and the playoffs are set up, a win is very beneficial. That means if you win you get to host at least one week and maybe two. It’s just a lot better if you win.”
Orrick chalked up its fifth consecutive shutout last week with a 46-0 win over Wentworth, while the Bobcats halted St. Mary’s four-game winning streak with a 20-7 decision in Independence. The Braymer defense shined last week as they shut down the Trojan offense – holding them to six first downs and just 136 yards of offense, with 70 of those yards coming on a scoring play.
Richard knows Braymer Coach Troy Stemberger’s teams are always physical.
“He does such a great job with those kids,” Richard said. “You see those kids in the spring and they’re not as impressive, but you see them now and he gets every ounce of ability out of those kids. They play hard every play and he’s got a good football team.”
The Orrick defense will be keeping an eye on quarterback John Haley and running back Jesse Clevenger, who are the prime weapons in the Braymer grind-it-out attack. Richard said the Bobcat line is another reason they can push the football up the field.
“They’re good up front,” he said. “They’re huge – maybe as big as anyone we have played all year including Concordia – and I think they are a little more athletic up front than Concordia was. I think they get off the ball better.”
The 5-3 Bobcats also remind Richard of his own team in their offensive philosophy of pounding the football at you and passing every once in a while. He adds that Friday night could be a good test.
“We need that and we need that going into the playoffs,” Richard said. “It’s great to have our kids line up against some big kids like that and see where we are.”