Last Friday’s Region 8-5A matchup at home with Kingsbury was the third time this year Brighton deployed its new offense, a run-heavy flexbone.
It was pretty obvious from the result, a 44-8 win, that the Cardinals are getting used to their new offensive scheme.
“I think we’ve started executing and flowing a little better offensively with us changing the system, for sure,” first-year head coach Morgan Cruce said.
The Cardinals (3-5 overall, 1-3 region) ran 47 plays: one punt, two passes and 44 runs. That added up to 38 passing yards and a whopping 369 yards on the ground.
Hunter Lampley did most of the damage. The junior quarterback racked up a season-high 151 yards and four touchdowns on 10 carries.
After Brighton wideout Jalen Terry hit Keagon Jarmon on a 37-yard touchdown pass to start the scoring, Lampley scored on runs of 48 and 23 yards. Nolan Carson added a 31-yard field goal to give the Cardinals a 24-0 lead at the half.
“We knew they had an explosive quarterback and an explosive running back who had a chance to make an effect on the game if we let them, so we did our best to keep the ball on the ground, keep the clock moving and keep time of possession in our favor,” Cruce said.
“I felt like, for the most part, we did a pretty good job of that except when the quarterback, or one of the slots or receivers, wanted to score too fast, which I guess is a good problem to have,” the coached added with a laugh.
Brighton’s Pierce Meacham scored on an eight-yard run in the third quarter and Lampley finished things off in the fourth quarter with scoring runs of 26 and 49 yards.
Aiden Potter rushed 14 times for 94 yards and Taylon Carpenter, Ty Stark and Sherman Brown Jr. combined for 107 more yards on the ground.
Stark, the team’s top returning rusher from last year, had nine carries for 38 yards in his second game back after four weeks out with an injury.
Cruce said Stark is close to 100 percent healthy, but “is still getting himself back into playing shape.” Stark made some big contributions at linebacker vs. Kingsbury with six tackles.
After picking up its first region win of the season, Brighton still has a chance to make the playoffs, but the road will be tough. The Cardinals will need to beat Dyer County Oct. 21 and Southwind in the regular season finale to get there. The Cardinals, who have won two of their last three games, are off this Friday.
However things unfold, Cruce said his team will look to get healthy during the bye week and work on themselves.
“At the end of the day we’re going to let the chips fall where they may. My message to the guys is that we have to take it one day at a time, one week at a time. If we end up in the playoffs, that’s phenomenal. If not, then we’ve ended the season in a way we should end the season. Our mindset is we have to continue to grow, get better and improve.”