By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
BRUCE – Tae Lawrence and his Calhoun City team proved just how tough they are on Friday night.
Lawrence, who fractured his throwing hand three weeks ago, threw three touchdown passes as his top-ranked Wildcats (10-1, 5-0) battled back from an early 10-0 deficit on the road to beat their rival, second-ranked Bruce, 27-16, to win the MHSAA Division 1-2A title on the final day of Class 2A’s regular season.
The Trojans dropped to 9-2 overall and finished league play with a 4-1 mark.
“He’s a young man, and the truth was that he healed up fast,” Wildcats head coach Perry Liles said of Lawrence, his senior QB. “And he played great. He came through, and he’s a tough guy, anyway.”
Lawrence completed 4 of 6 passes on the night for 111 yards, while rushing 15 times for 51 yards.
“We went and got it X-rayed Tuesday,” Liles said of Lawrence’s hand. “We let all three quarterbacks take reps, and he was ready to go by Friday. He’s a winner and he did a great job.”
With his team trailing 10-0, Lawrence swung the ball out to Tavion Primer, who took it into the end zone for a 15-yard TD with 18 seconds to play in the first quarter.
Just less than three minutes into the second period, Lawrence then found a wide open Cartin McBride for a 71-yard touchdown that gave the Wildcats a 13-10 lead.
“They sent a back (McBride) out of the backfield and the linebacker just didn’t pick him up,” Trojans head coach James Ray said of the play that gave his rival the lead it wouldn’t relinquish. “I don’t know if it was a busted coverage or if he (the linebacker) didn’t see him (McBride) come out.”
McBride emerged from the backfield for a 28-yard touchdown run with 5:48 remaining in the third, and Lawrence, after scrambling to his right, found wide receiver Patrick Crowley for an 11-yard TD pass to hand the Wildcats a 27-10 lead with 5:18 left to play.
After going scoreless for two quarters, the Trojans finally reached paydirt when quarterback Davis Brown scored from a yard out with 2:31 left on the clock.
The Trojans’ first points came when Davis connected with Reed Gregory for a 16-yard TD nearly seven minutes into the contest.
Shaq Bush kicked a 30-yard field goal almost three minutes later to give his team a 10-0 advantage.