BY CORY WOODROOF | PHOTO BY ANDY COLLIGNON
By the end of the first Brentwood/Independence game in September, the Eagles flash-bang offensive upheaval of the Bruins’ typically-stout defense left Region 6-6A in a conundrum as to who would win it.
Though they got upset, Brentwood still claimed the region when it was all said and done, and the Eagles came in third.
Now, as we enter the second week of the playoffs, Bruins and Eagles will clash once more, this time to see the winner of Ravenwood/Cane Ridge for a trip to the quarterfinals.
Things have changed for both teams since they last met, with the obvious story to mention being the sudden transfer of former Brentwood receiver Chayce Bishop to Independence in October. Of course, Bishop joining the Eagles gives that team a three-headed monster to field at wide receiver (electric Purdue commit T.J. Sheffield and dangerous Isaiah Collier lead the group).
Though, even without Bishop, Brentwood still boasts an offensive group that’s a bit deeper than what Indy fields, led by Avery Williams and Walker Merrill. Ethan Cash for Indy is a gunslinger with a big arm who loves big numbers on the stat sheet. Cade Granzow for Brentwood is a guy who mixes his up between throws and rushes, and seems to get roughly the same amount of touchdowns as Cash between them.
With Granzow and Cash both young, this annual region duel is going to be fun for the immediate future. The next installment kicks in Friday. Who has the upper hand?
You can’t think the Bruins offense will get off to such a slow start as they did against Indy in September. They were a young team riding on a hot start then, which can sometimes be a formula for upset. Indy was fighting for every win it could get after starting 1-3, and clearly had everything to play for at any given moment. That helped tilt the first half in the Eagles’ strong favor, though Brentwood made a game of it in the second half.
This time around, Brentwood will once again host and much more experience for its young roster, but Indy will have an even-more prolific offense and an improved defense.
Watch out for the Bruins pass rush in this one. If they can make Cash uncomfortable all night, and he starts missing throws, it could give the Bruins an opportunity to usher in its dangerous ground attack to take control of the clock. The Eagles running the ball just enough helps to balance the explosive, big-play passing; if Brentwood can get after that, they could take control of things quickly.
For Indy, it’ll be slowing down Granzow on the ground. That’s typically how teams find success against what the Bruins can do offensively, and it takes away one of the hardest things to defend that the Bruins can do. If Brentwood has to throw all night, it similarly does what taking away Cash’s time in the pocket does to Indy. All offenses have their Achilles’ heels.
For fans of local football, this one’s going to be a classic. Will the young Bruins even the September score and advance to the quarterfinals? Or will the Eagles get a big-enough night out of this loaded offense to grab their second road win of the postseason?
Whatever happens, it’ll be talked about long after the Friday night lights dull down.