Brooke building for the future in matchup with John Marshall
MOUNDSVILLE — While John Marshall looks to keep its longest winning streak in 11 years going Friday night, West Virginia Class AAA rival Brooke will look to build for the future and play spoiler at Monarch Stadium.
Head coach Rich Goodrich has watched his Monarchs roll off four victories in a row to improve to 5-2 and put them in the thick of the playoff chase in the Mountain State.
Currently sitting in a deadlock for the No. 11 spot, John Marshall has had five three-game winning streaks since 2006 but will be looking to extend its longest run since then against the Bruins. The Monarchs pounded Warren by a 48-6 count last Friday.
“I didn’t feel like we played our best football last week,” Goodrich said. “We were a step slow, and I wasn’t very happy, but we can’t get caught up in ourselves. We have to go out and play every week and continue to grow and work towards a postseason berth.
“Our focus has to be on getting better and taking this one game at a time to get to the next level. It is all about climbing the ladder, one rung at a time. But I am really not sure that we improved any last week.”
Coach Mac McLean’s Brooke squad has been in a year-long battle to score points and are coming off a 28-7 setback to Parkersburg South. A very telling statistic is the Bruins have scored only 34 points in their five losses, the same amount they scored in their only victory against Perry Traditional Academy.
“Offense has been an ongoing problem for us all season,” McLean said. “But it isn’t because we don’t have opportunities. We were inside of South’s 30 four or five times last week without scoring a point.
“Ultimately, errors and turnovers seem to get us every single time. And that is something that we have to get turned around.”
While Brooke has struggled offensively, John Marshall senior running back Dereck Hess has been one of the biggest offensive producers in the valley this season. Hess should go past the 1,000-yard rushing mark this week, sitting at 987 coming in, with an impressive 22 total touchdowns.
Jordan Wood is the Monarchs’ quarterback and has thrown for more than 700 yards and three touchdowns while Nick Colter and Chas McCool are dual threats running the football and catching passes.
“They probably have the best running back in the valley in Hess,” McLean said. “They are very physical up front and they really know how to move the football. Coach Goodrich has done good things down there and they are gaining success from it. They have a lot of momentum, and playing them is not going to be an easy task, but we will make the trip and give it our all.
“A victory over them could be just the medicine we need to help springboard us towards next year.”
The Bruins are led by the pitch-and-catch combo of junior quarterback Gage Yost and senior wide receiver Ethan Secrist, who has turned into one of the valley’s top receivers with 22 grabs for 422 yards and three scores. Yost threw for just 88 yards last week, but did run for 111 and a score.
Brooke also has Dalton Valero and Max Camilletti coming out of the backfield.
“You hear coaches say it all the time, but they really are a much better team than their record indicates,” Goodrich said. “They play a very tough schedule and have done some very uncharacteristic things this season with turnovers and mistakes.
“But those kinds of things are correctable and if they find a way to play a clean game they could be tough to stop. They are big and physical and they are truly the best team we will have faced in the last five weeks.”
The Bruins have a two-game winning streak in the series, including last year’s 50-31 triumph. The Monarchs last victory was a 25-6 win in 2014.