NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Brockway coach Jake Heigel realizes how difficult it is to control the flow of information in the days of the internet and social media.
His mantra as his Rovers get set to travel to Redbank Valley to take on a Bulldog team on Friday night that has had a difficult week off the field is simple.
Worry about yourself.
“All year we’ve had a big slogan, which is, ‘It’s not about anybody else. It’s about what we do, and how we prepare,’” Heigel said. “That continued to be the message all week. You know, stay offline. Don’t believe everything you read and focus on us wand we’ve got going on.”
Still, Brockway — and, well, most people outside of the Redbank Valley School District — aren’t sure what to expect when the Rovers take the field against the Bulldogs.
They know three players were disciplined for hazing incidents and that 10 players in all did not dress last week against Port Allegany — including star quarterback Cam Wagner and receiver Ashton Kahle.
It is unclear if some, all — or none — of those players will suit up this week.
The Redbank Valley School District released a statement about the incidents, which took place on Oct. 4 and Oct. 11, and the investigation that followed, which wrapped up on Tuesday. The statement said that “three players were disciplined, one coach was removed and the coaching staff given a firm directive to maintain heightened awareness, as well as to affirmatively address and report any possibility or suggestion of hazing behavior.”
The statement also stated that “we will not be communicating further on student or adult discipline related to these incidents.”
Should Cam Wagner, who is having an outstanding campaign with 1,724 passing yards and 28 touchdowns, not play again, Braylon Wagner will get the start at quarterback for Redbank Valley (7-1).
The freshman played well in an 8-7 loss to Port Allegany last week. He completed 10-of-23 passes for 175 yards and a 90-yard touchdown to Tate Minich that gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.
The Gators scored a late touchdown and tacked on a 2-point conversion for the one-point win.
Brockway (5-3) has won three straight since a 40-7 loss to Port Allegany.
The setback served as a wakeup call for the Rovers.
“It was almost an urgency button was hit after that,” Heigel said. “If we want to reach our goals, we have to win this amount of games in this amount of time and those guys, especially the seven seniors we have, they kind of collectively said, ‘OK. We’re gonna buckle down and gonna put in the work we need to do in order to be successful.’”
That has showed in wins over Smethport, Keystone and Ridgway.
Sophomore quarterback Brayden Fox has continued to be stellar with 1,697 yards passing and 18 touchdown.
Alex Carlson already has 68 receptions for 771 yards and 10 touchdowns and junior Jendy Cuello has sparked the running game with 630 yards on the ground.
“We’re getting healthy at the right time and I think after that poor game (against Port Allegany) our guys kind of looked themselves in the mirror a little bit,” Heigel said.