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SportsZone Football Friday game of the week preview: Smith-Cotton vs. Rock Bridge

Rock Bridge football coach Van Vanatta talked to his team during preseason camp in August 2021.
Rock Bridge football coach Van Vanatta talked to his team during preseason camp in August 2021.


The Rock Bridge Bruins will look to capture their first win of the season in a week two match-up with the Smith-Cotton Tigers.

You can watch the game live on KZOU over the air channel 17.3 at 7 p.m. Here is a look at other local listings:

  • DirecTV - channel 18
  • Dish Network - channel 32
  • Mediacom - channel 12, 709
  • Centurylink - channel 12
  • Spectrum - channel 183

Or watch a replay of the game in the player below.

The Bruins season-opener ended in 25-point loss to Staley and head coach Van Vanatta said a lot of that is due to having a young group with not a ton of game experience.

"A lot of the guys who are playing for us have never really had that experience," Vanatta said. "It's funny, we were talking about it after that game that it seemed like we had a lot of kids that looked like deer in headlights. Again, a lot of these kids, even if they did play, they didn't have a crowd, they didn't have anything like that. So, you know, it was Friday night lights."

You can watch the full conversation with Vanatta in the video player below.

Vanatta added that as the season goes on the identity of his team will become more and more clear. He said even if his team starts slow, they still need to finish fast.

"Number one, we can't take anybody lightly," he said. "Number two, we have to worker harder. I think number three is to just understand that look we got that out of the way, we're going to be fine. Just believe in what we are doing, keep the system, and keep rolling. I think the kids understand that. I don't like losing, but sometimes losses are a good way to teach your team."

On flip side, Smith-Cotton came out on the other side of week one with a 32-12 win over Moberly. Head coach Charlie McFail said a win was a great way to start the season with a clean slate.

"We had a rough season last year, you know, went 0-8 last year so they started back in December, January time, during our offseason working out to make sure we don't end up he same way," he said.

You can watch the full conversation with McFail in the video player below.

McFail said that the locker room was pretty amped up after their week one win, however, added that they need to carry that momentum into week two. He said he knows Rock Bridge is going to come out hungry after falling in the season opener.

"We got our week one win, you start the season off right and they're going to want to correct their season," McFail said. "You have to be able to match that intensity that they're going to come out with. We had a good win last Friday, but just like I said, that was last Friday."

Vanatta said that this year's Smith-Cotton team is going to give them a good challenge.

"They're physical. They're big," he said. "They look like they've been in the weight room, I can see that, and again we're young."

Smith-Cotton and Rock Bridge will kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday night at Rock Bridge High School.

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Nathalie Jones

Nathalie anchors and reports sports for ABC17. She started working at the station in June 2020.


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