Bruins cleaning up mistakes before facing Morgantown

GOAL LINE STAND — Brooke’s Ethan Secrist (1) and C.J. Helms (21) attempt to tackle University’s Trevor Barnhart on a two-point coversion Friday night. (Photo by Joe Catullo)

MORGANTOWN — The Brooke Bruins head to Morgantown Friday night to battle the Mohigans, still seeking their first win of the season after dropping their home opener 34-15 to University last week.

“They were a pretty tough team,” Brooke head coach Mac McLean said. “We were within five points of them with eight minutes to go. We hung with them for a long time. I think at the end of the day we just ended up losing the battle of attrition, and they tacked an extra one on at the end to make it look pretty lopsided.”

Despite the 0-2 start, McLean’s team is staying positive.

“Obviously we’d like to have a victory by now,” he said. “The kids are still positive; they’re still excited. I think that they understand that our schedule is pretty front loaded with some of the best teams that we’re going to play in the first two matchups. We’re just trying to get better every day.”

The Mohigans come in 1-2, also dropping the first two games of the season to North Allegheny and Steubenville Big Red, before getting in the win column with a 31-10 win at Parkersburg South last week.

Brooke dropped it’s opener on the road, playing against Wheeling Park at West Liberty University, and had a bye week in Week 2. McLean knows the Mohigans are a better football team than a 1-2 record would indicate because of who they’ve played.

“They opened up with North Allegheny, and anyone who knows football around here knows that name,” he said. “And obviously Steubenville is Steubenville. I think there is one valley team that has a win against them in about the last quarter century. We’re not looking at them as your typical two-loss team. They’ve gone into the jaws of the beast. We’re not going to take anything lightly and think we’re going up against a losing team. They had a couple real tough ones right out of the gate.”

According to McLean, Morgantown has the ability to give his team multiple offensive looks in the same game, providing a challenge for his defense.

“They have more of a conventional set with a quarterback and wide receivers, but against Parkersburg South on film, they came out in the wildcat formation and basically ran the exact same play about 10 times in a row and went right down the field on a pretty good Parkersurg South team to punch it in,” McLean said. “They established themselves as the dominate team on the field. If we can’t figure out how to stop the two wings and guard pulling out around the end and caving us in, it could be a long night. But I’ve got confidence that our defensive coaches are going to figure that out, and I’ve got confidence my boys are going to come out and play as hard as they can.”

The biggest thing that the Bruins need to improve on is not beating themselves. They have turned the ball over six times so far and have also been plagued by penalties.

“The interception bug bit us on our first drive last Friday,” McLean said. “We under-threw a pass that should have been a touchdown. We tried to force a pass in a bad situation toward the end, which ended up being a pick-six, and that proved to be the backbreaker. My football players have got to protect the ball better.

“Something else that happened Friday night that we’ve got to correct as a coaching staff is penalties. It’s upsetting to think that one of our biggest enemies in the first two games has been the guys wearing green and gold. We’re not blessed with such overwhelming talent that we can overcome self-inflicted injuries like that, so we’ve got to grow past that as a team and be a lot more fundamentally sound.”

The Brooke offense is averaging just under 200 yards per game, 65 on the ground and 134.5 through the air, while scoring just 21 points (10.5 per game) so far through two games. Those are numbers the Bruins will hope to improve this week.

On defense, the Bruins are allowing 330 yards per game — 193 rushing and 137 passing — and an average of 29 points against.

Logan Williams is 15-of-27 passing for Brooke, throwing for 200 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Ethan Secrist has 10 catches for 188 yards to lead the way receiving. Kenton Conley has 47 yards on 13 carries, averaging 3.6 yards per carry with a touchdown.