HATLEY – Winless Bruce got three touchdowns from freshman quarterback Davis Brown to defeat Hatley 19-18 Thursday in a Division 1-2A game.
Hatley, the No. 5-ranked team in the Journal’s small school rankings, scored what appeared to be the go-ahead touchdown, but a holding penalty brought back the 13-yard run by Cody Taylor with 8:11 left.
After each team exchanged a pair of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, Bruce gave the Tigers new life after a roughing-the-passer penalty on third-and-40 play.
Despite new life and a fresh set of downs at the Bruce 29-yard line, the Trojans’ defense held on thanks to a pair of pass breakups by Ted Esom and Rod Harris to secure the victory.
Long time coming
“My hat’s off to our players. We’ve been working for this moment since the start of the season,” said Bruce head coach James Ray. “It took us this long to get it and how sweet it is.”
Brown completed 7 of 13 passed for 103 yards and two touchdowns to Shaq Bush, who had 82 yards receiving. The rookie QB added 47 yards rushing and a TD.
Nick Smith rushed for 85 yards on 13 carries for Bruce.
For Hatley, Codi Taylor rushed for 99 yards and two TDs. Cody Woods passed for 91 yards and one interception on 4 of 19 passing while adding 78 yards rushing on 11 carries.
The road to the program’s first-ever playoff appearance does not get much easier for the Tigers as they travel to Calhoun City next week. They take on Baldwyn and Walnut to close out the regular season.
The Trojans will host the Baldwyn Bearcats next week.