When the Brookfield football team takes the field on Friday night against Monroe City, the Bulldogs will be playing with house money. A home game against the defending Class 1 state champion means that the 'Dogs have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Plus, Brookfield coach Scott Stevens knows his kids have grown from a tough loss to Palmyra in week one and will treat Monroe City like any other game.
"After a tough loss last Friday we still stuck together," Stevens said. "Our guys aren't playing with each other, they're playing for each other, which I think is important."
Stevens said that Monroe City, who walloped Centralia 38-0 last week, is once again impressive on both sides of the football. He noted the Panthers' blend of speed and power on offense, including a fullback replacing last year's Cole Pennewell with whom he was especially wary.
"With what they do out of their wing-T, especially with so much speed, we'll have to make sure we're filling our gaps and doing our job, or they'll break off long plays," Stevens said. "Keenan Batsell, he's their fullback, and he's the guy that makes their offense go. He's fast, he's big, and he runs hard, and he'll get the ball about 70 percent of the time.
"When that's not working, they'll get the ball to the (Brayden) Osborn kid, who was an all-state player last year, and they're really good up front. They have a lot of returning players from last year's state championship team."
Brookfield played arguably its most complete football game of the 2017 season when it travelled to Monroe City. The Bulldogs eventually fell 36-14, but the score was inflated by two Monroe City touchdowns in the late minutes of the game.