BRUCE – North Pontotoc coach Brian Sutton knew it was going to be a slugfest when his Vikings traveled to 2A powerhouse Bruce to open their 2013 season. That insight proved to be truer than he imagined, as the two normally high-powered offensive clubs duked it out in a defensive struggle that ultimately saw the Trojans pull out a thrilling 19-14 win.
Trailing 14-13 late, Bruce’s Latreel Marks returned a botched Viking punt snap for a touchdown, his second score of the game,to give the Trojans their first lead with 3:19 remaining.
“We have a young team, and I think it was important for them to win a game like this, a game where they had to overcome some adversity, “ said Bruce head coach James Ray.
The game was played under trying conditions. It was delayed an hour and a half due to intense storms that pelted the Bruce area. When kickoff finally did occur, tailback Jeremy Wilkes burst through the middle of the Trojan defense for a 17-yard touchdown on the Vikings’ first possession.
With 5:40 left in the half and North driving again, Marks stepped in front of a Trey Jolly pass and raced 75 yards to tie the game 7-7.
After surrendering some big plays in the first half, the Trojans defense shut out the Vikings in the second half, including two stops in the final three minutes to preserve the victory.
“Our defense had a bend-but-don’t-break mentality all night, but they really hammered down there at the end,” said Ray.