By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Calhoun County is still very much in football mode. A pair of wins Friday and the buzz would be louder.
Calhoun City and Bruce are both home Friday night for the MHSAA Class 2A quarterfinals. Calhoun City hosts Eupora. West Bolivar travels to Bruce. If the Wildcats (9-4) and Trojans (10-3) win, it would mean a Skuna River Rivalry for the North title.
Calhoun City beat the Trojans 15-14 three weeks ago but before a rematch can be talked about, both have huge hurdles.
West Bolivar (11-2) boasts Mississippi State-committed running back Kailo Moore.
“They’re extremely fast. Kailo Moore has world-class speed. He’s a track guy. Not all of them are that fast, thank goodness, but they’re fast,” said Bruce coach James Ray.
“The defense is stingy and they fly to the ball.”
Ray said the gameplan is to get to Moore quickly and hit him hard and often. The back has used his speed to rack up 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns. Teammate Trevoris Hampton has 18 rushing scores. Bruce counters with a passing game led by senior Davis Brown that has scored 36 touchdowns, 10 each by Rashad Turner and Shaq Bush.
Calhoun City faces a Eupora team with one loss – 27-6 on Sept. 14 at the hands of Calhoun City.
“There’s not anybody not hard to beat, Bruce, West Bolivar. We’re glad to still be in it,” Calhoun City coach Perry Liles said.
Calhoun City has won six in a row. Sophomore quarterback Chakel Gates has both rushed and passed for more than 1,000 yards this season. Eupora (12-1) has won nine straight. West Bolivar has won nine straight games and, like Bruce, is scoring close to 40 points per game.
“We’re right where we thought we’d be,” Ray said. “We’ve had some bumps, some games we feel like we should have won and didn’t because we haven’t learned from past mistakes.”
West Bolivar put the Trojans out last season, 15-14 in similar fashion as Bruce lost at Calhoun City this season, late touchdown and risky two-point conversion. The Eagles ran the same wildcat play seven times to score the game-winning touchdown.