High school football: Brookings Bobcats remain focused during Homecoming week

Brookings’ Jones Huntimer throws the ball during a game against Huron on Sept. 8 at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium in Brookings. The Bobcats host Douglas on Friday at 7 p.m. (Chris Schad/Brookings Register)

BROOKINGS — Homecoming is an exciting time for everyone. Some of Brady Clark’s best days as a player in high school and college came on homecoming weekend. But for as much celebration and hype surrounding the game Clark and the Bobcats know that there is still a job to do when Douglas visits Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium on Friday night.

“Homecoming is a great week,” Clark said. “It’s great to show pride and not just during the football game on Friday but in all our sports and extracurriculars throughout the week…but our word of the week is focus and there’s a big reason for that.”

Outside of Monday’s coronation and the sporting events around the community, the Bobcats leadership council has also been busy visiting the elementary and middle schools to prompt pride throughout the community. But for as much fun as those activities are, the Bobcats’ focus remains on the Patriots.

“They’re all great things but they can be a negative distraction if you’re not keeping your guys focused on their jobs for Friday. “The kids are excited and everybody wants to hear their name called out on Friday night but I’m trying to reel that excitement into more of a focus when it’s time to work at practice.”


Week 5

• Who: Douglas Patriots (1-3) at Brookings Bobcats (0-4)

• When: 7 p.m. Friday

• Where: Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium in Brookings

The Bobcats job is a difficult one after getting off to an 0-4 start this season. While the Bobcats are still looking for their first win, Clark has seen small steps throughout the past several weeks and believes his team is close to getting over the hump.

“We are so close to getting over this imaginary hurdle,” Clark said. “We talked about as coaches and with the players that we do everything right on one play and then one thing goes wrong on another play and it’s a crucial spot in the game and it doesn’t go away. We need to eliminate that.”

Clark also believes that the key to eliminating the problem is consistency and playing a full game in all three phases. But just as much as the Bobcats have nothing to lose, so do the Patriots, who have lost three straight games after defeating Belle Fourche in the opener.

While the Patriots have gotten off to a slow start, Clark knows that they will bring their best effort to spoil the Bobcats’ homecoming on Friday night.

“They have kids that are tough,” Clark said. “Those kids are going to give 100 percent effort and they’re going to play to the very end of the game.”

While Clark believes there may be some changes for Douglas he also knows the Bobcats have to worry about themselves. An emphasis has been placed on getting sustained drives on offense and getting off the field on third down defensively but either way, Clark views it as an opportunity for his team to take another step forward.

“They may be struggling, but teams that are struggling don’t have anything to lose, either,” Clark said. “I would expect maybe some changes from them compared to what we’ve seen on film and they look at us as a team that hasn’t won a game yet. As far as playing fields go, they’re pretty level.”

That has led to a focused effort from the Bobcats heading into Friday’s game and one that Clark believes will benefit from a homecoming crowd.

“We’re right there,” Clark said. “We’re absolutely right there and it will hit. We just have to believe it and I’m excited to see it come to fruition on Friday.”