By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
BRUCE – Bruce High School’s football team is one win away from where everyone told the Trojans they belonged, the MHSAA Class 2A state title game.
Bruce travels to Eupora on Friday night, still on target for that goal.
“We’re where we thought we’d be at the beginning of the season, but we’ve got to push forward and not just be content with where we are,” Bruce coach James Ray said. “Eupora is a really good team. There’s no reason to sit back with what we’ve done so far when our goal was to get to Jackson.”
The Trojans (11-3) leaped their biggest playoff hurdle last week against West Bolivar and now have to win at once-beaten Eupora to reach the 2A title game.
Bruce quarterback Davis Brown has had a memorable season, throwing for 2,736 yards and 35 touchdowns.
Bruce’s defense has allowed 10 points per game and has two seniors with more than 100 tackles – linebacker Jonathan Bobo (141) and defensive end Deshawn Tillman (117). Eupora’s defense allows 11 points a game.
“I don’t expect it to be high-scoring. These are two really good defenses,” Ray said. “We’re averaging 40 points a game but when you go against a great defense, you can throw that out. You’ve got to scrap and get all you can get.”
Eupora’s lone loss came against Bruce rival Calhoun City on Sept. 14. Since then, the Eagles (13-1) have won nine in a row behind a balanced offense that has seen nine players rush for scores.
Trey Pittman has thrown for 1,422 yards and 16 touchdowns. Ole Miss wide receiver commitment Derrick Jones (6-foot-2, 180) has caught 36 passes for 729 yards and 10 TDs.
Both top Bruce receivers have 10 touchdowns each – senior Shaq Bush with 927 yards on 57 catches and senior Rashad Turner with 696 yards on 34 grabs. Zay Armstrong leads the Trojans in rushing with 672 yards and eight scores on 113 carries.
“They’re probably the most athletic team we’ve played all year,” Eupora coach Junior Graham said. “Whoever on their offense has the ball, they can score any time. But their defense is their strength. It makes maintaining blocks that much more important.”