By Brandon Speck
North Pontotoc continues a memorable season Friday at Kemper County in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs – under the direction of one of its own.
“I’m from here and I think that probably makes it a little bit more special,” North Pontotoc coach Brian Sutton said, “that you can come back to a place you were a part of.”
The Vikings (9-3) have made four straight playoff appearances under Sutton, but this was their first time to win the division – and to make Round 2.
North boasts an star in senior receiver Marcus Green, a speedy Louisiana-Monroe commit leading the team in rushing and receiving – 1,511 yards and 20 touchdowns.
But Sutton has preached all along this team is full of stars. The offensive numbers have backed him up.
Five players have rushed for touchdowns, seven receiving. Senior quarterback Trey Jolly has thrown for 2,024 yards and 24 scores.
“We kind of figured we’ve got a few guys here that can take some pressure off Marcus,” Sutton said. “When people start trying to double cover him, that’s going to leave somebody open.
“I guess the thing we were looking for is when they do that, when we get you the football, we need you to be a gamebreaker. We’ve had a lot of guys step up.”
That has happened on a balanced offensive side and on defense. Six players have at least three sacks, led by junior linebacker C.J. McLaughlin’s nine.
Kemper (9-3) has a big threat in senior quarterback Kelvin Bourrage. Bourrage has thrown for 1,772 yards and completed nearly 60 percent of his passes for 15 touchdowns and 10 picks. But he has also rushed for a team-high 921 yards and 14 touchdowns.
A 1988 grad, now older and wiser, Sutton is taking North Pontotoc to new heights.
“That was one of the greatest feelings, to be able to come back and be a part of a division championship at a school you went to,” Sutton said. “But I give all the credit to these guys and the assistant coaches. They’ve worked hard to accomplish these goals. We want people to be proud to be a North Pontotoc Viking, no matter if you’re a fan, teacher or regular student. Hopefully our football team has made you proud. That’s what we want.”