BROOKLAND — Brookland coach Eric Munoz has a simple solution for the simple problems he identified in the Bearcats’ 47-7 loss to Nettleton last week.
“Blocking and tackling, that’s the main thing for us,” Munoz said. “We have to block better and we have to tackle better. That’s the emphasis this week in practice.”
The Bearcats hope to snap a three-game losing streak Friday night when they host Greene County Tech on Homecoming. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
After winning close contests with Gosnell and Westside to open the season, Brookland (2-3, 0-2 conference) has dropped games to Rivercrest, Wynne and Nettleton, teams that have a combined 12-2 record. The Bearcats opened league play with losses to Wynne and Nettleton by a combined 85-14.
“You look at both of those teams and they may be running through the whole conference and battling each other to win it,” Munoz said. “They could slip up, but they’re both really good teams.”
Greene County Tech (3-2, 1-1) has lost only to fifth-ranked Vilonia and Wynne, which is also receiving votes in Class 5A in the Arkansas Sports Media poll this week. The Eagles whipped Forrest City 42-8 in their league opener before falling 32-10 to Wynne last week.
Munoz is especially impressed with GCT’s offensive line. The Eagles’ starters averaged 264 pounds from tackle to tackle against Wynne.
“Their offensive line is probably one of the better offensive lines in the conference from what I’ve seen. They’re big, they’re physical, they’re athletic for how big they are. They maul people,” Munoz said. “They like to spread the ball around and defensively they play hard. They like to pack the box on you and tell you that you can’t run the football on them. That’s what we have to do. We have to find a way to run the football on these guys and stop the run.”
Running backs Kaden Matthews and Joseph Matthews have scored two touchdowns each this fall for Brookland. Matthews has scored in each of the last two games.
Both teams finished last week’s games with backup quarterbacks on the field because of injuries. Brookland lost starter Jack Henry Pettit in the season opener and Munoz does not expect Barrett Cunningham, who exited last week’s game, to play against GCT.
Aidan Roberson, who has been playing wide receiver and outside linebacker, is working at quarterback for Brookland.
“He’s very smart. He’s a guy we’ve been able to put in any position on the field and he excels at those positions,” Munoz said. “I don’t think it will be any different with him at quarterback. We’re excited about him being in there and we feel comfortable with him.”
GCT’s Christian Barber, who threw nine touchdown passes in the first four games, left last week’s game after rolling out to attempt a pass in the second quarter. Camden Farmer finished the game at quarterback for the Eagles.
Caleb Gerrish, GCT’s season rushing leader, scored his third touchdown of the season against the Yellowjackets. Gerrish rushed for 115 yards in his team’s 47-6 victory over Harrisburg.
Munoz said every game is big the rest of the season as the Bearcats try to stay in the hunt for a playoff berth.
“You turn the film on and there are some simple things that we have to fix, that are easily correctable, but the kids have to buy into what we’re doing and do it,” he said. “If they’re not supposed to step with their left foot, they’re supposed to step with their right, they’ve got to do it. That’s the sort of thing we’re working on this week.”