The Brunswick Pirates will start out another football season in familiar territory.
The Pirates, in their second season under head coach Sean Pender, will be in Douglas Friday night to face Class 6A power Coffee at Jardine Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
And if history repeats itself, the Pirates will see their season start with a loss to the Trojans who are ranked second in the state behind region rival Lee County which beat them in the state championship game last December.
The Pirates have never won at Jardine Stadium in their eight previous games there, including last season’s 30-13 loss in the season opener.
In that game, turnovers, and penalties doomed the Pirates. Those miscues can’t happen again on Friday night if the Pirates are to have their best chance at the upset, but they easily could as Brunswick takes a rebuilding team with several new faces in starting positions to Douglas.
“They’re gonna look good getting off the bus, and they’re going to play well,” Pender said of the hometown Trojans. “For us to pull this off, we can’t make mistakes like turnovers in the red zone. We have to sustain drives, get points and get them off the field on third down.”
Brunswick knows it’s going into hostile territory as an underdog – the popular Maxwell projections have them losing by 15 points – but the Pirates are excited about the opportunity to play the Trojans again.
“The kids know we’ve never beaten them at their stadium,” Pender said. “So, every time we go there, until we do, we have a chance to make history, right?
“Our kids are excited to play a championship-caliber program, and we’re trying to get our program to that level, too. Beating them would be a big feat, but we need to be excited and step up to the challenge.”
The Pirates will open with sophomore KJ Lee starting at quarterback. He will be asked to go the whole game as fellow quarterback Anthony Mountain is out for the opener with a recurring knee injury that forced him out of last week’s scrimmage victory over Beach after taking only a few snaps.
The junior will be evaluated again next week, according to Pender, who had planned to play both quarterbacks at the start of the season.
Brunswick played with a shuffled offensive line last week due to the absence of senior center AJ Kirland who missed the scrimmage with a sprained ankle. He is expected to start in the opener.
The Pirates will face a Coffee defense that is stout across the front, Pender noted.
“Their linebackers are also solid, and their secondary is good. They’re tough on defense.”
Offensively, the Trojans run a spread formation, but most of their running plays are based on principals from the Wing-T, a run-based offense that head coach Robby Pruitt used to employ almost all the time.
The Trojans played two quarterbacks in the preseason and have several gifted receivers including senior Milton Jackson who is committed to Georgia Southern.
“They make you defend the whole field,” Pender said.
Brunswick is 6-11 all-time versus Coffee. The Pirates have lost the last four meetings between the teams. Their last win was a 26-19 region victory in the middle of the 2013 season.