Big plays end Bruce Trojans’ season

By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

EUPORA – Bruce had one last chance at a North championship on Friday night, trailing 31-28 to Eupora in the MHSAA Class 2A North championship.
The Trojans had a first down at the Eupora 20, but Rusty Brown picked off Bruce quarterback Davis Brown in the end zone with 32 seconds left to secure the three-point victory.
Bruce had driven 69 yards but there wasn’t a Trojans’ receiver in the vicinity of the pass.
Brown had already led an 80-yard drive to pull the Trojans within three.
“He was doing it again,” Bruce coach James Ray said. “Unfortunately we couldn’t get off a jam and threw a pick in the end zone.”
Eupora will face Bassfield for the 2A championship Friday in Jackson. Ole Miss wide receiver commitment Derrick Jones went 80 yards on the opening kick to give Eupora a 7-0 lead. He had touchdown catches of 44 and 75 yards in the second half.
Bruce (11-4) went 77 yards on its first drive and Zay Armstrong scored from the 1. Bruce then scored on two straight turnovers, Rashad Turner’s 93-yard pick-6 and after Pat Gardner recovered a fumble on the kick. Brown capitalized with a 1-yard sneak for an 18-7 lead.
“Once we get a chance to let this hurt get over, this is an amazing team. They did a lot of great things all year,” Ray said.
Eupora (14-1) pulled within 18-13 on quarterback Trey Pittman’s 4-yard run. Tyler Donovan made up for three missed extra points with a 34-yard field goal for a 21-13 halftime lead.
Eupora’s first-half running set up Jones’ had back-to-back scores to put the Eagles ahead and Eupora’s Vandy Smith picked Brown and went 24 yards for a touchdown and 31-21 lead.
Bruce answered with an 80-yard drive. Donta Armstrong found the end zone with a 24-yard catch and the Trojans got it back on their own 11 with 3:27 left.
Armstrong had seven catches for 128 yards. Jones had five for 142.
The Trojans’ final drive saw a fourth down re-measured to give them a first down and a 17-yard pass to Donta Armstrong to the 20.
“This is a dream come true, something I always wanted to do,” Jones said.
brandon.speck@journalinc.com