Explosive third quarter lifts Bruce over Vardaman 48-12

By JOEL McNEECE
The Bruce Trojans and Vardaman Rams were battling tooth and nail in a game that early on appeared would hang in the balance until the final horn. Then the third quarter happened.


Bruce scored 35 points in the blink of an eye and the closely contested game quickly turned into a blowout as the Trojans won going away 48-12.
“I’ve never seen a game turn like this one did in the third quarter,” Bruce Coach James Ray said. “If it could go wrong for them it did and we were able to take advantage. It shows our age. We’re getting older and able to capitalize on opportunities. My hat’s off to Vardaman. They played our tails off the first half.”
Vardaman entered the game having won three of the last four meetings with Bruce and appeared on their way to another victory until the Trojan wave struck in the third quarter.
The momentum change began on a blocked punt by Jonathan Bobo. He blocked Ram punter Dillon Landreth’s kick straight into the air, caught it before it hit the ground and ran five yards into the end zone to erase a 12-6 halftime deficit and give Bruce their first lead of the game at 13-12.
“I bustedbruce_vardaman59 through the blocks and got my hands on it,” Bobo said. “I looked up and saw the ball and just grabbed it and scored.”
Moments later Javon Petty took advantage of a fumble by the Rams’ Will Tutor returning it 41 yards to the Vardaman 3-yard line.
“Demetris (Evans) hit him and the ball was coming out, so I grabbed it and took off running,” Petty said. “I just tried to get in the end zone.”
Bruce QB?Davis Brown punched it in on the next play to extend the Bruce lead to 20-12 after J.B. Long’s successful extra point. Long hit six of seven on the night.
The Trojan defense forced a punt on the next possession and the snap sailed over the punters head and Bruce recovered at the nine. Zay Armstrong scored on a 9-yard touchdown run the next play.
Ted Esom broke through the line and raced 39 yards for a score minutes later and then Ben Williams capped the third quarter with a 52-yard touchdown run down the sideline.
Bruce would add another touchdown in the fourth quarter when Shaq Bush caught a swing pass from Brown and raced down the sideline 45 yards for the score.
“This means a lot. It’s been a long time since we’ve been 2-0,” Shaq Bush said. “We’ve got to come out and do it every week.”
Bush also accounted for the only touchdown the Trojans had in the first half – a 62-yard punt return.
“He was about to tackle me and I spun off and my blocker was looking at me and I told him to go block,” Bush said. “I got around the corner and we put it in there.”
Vardaman dominated the first half holding the Trojan offense to only 59 yards in building a 12-6 halftime advantage.
bruce_vard50The Rams’ two scores came on a 43-yard touchdown pass from Cody Jenkins to Donta Walker to open the game, and a 17-yard pass from Walker to Eric Jones in the second quarter.
“We gave them two or three touchdowns in the third quarter and about two series there we just quit and that’s what I’m disappointed in,” Vardaman Coach Justin Hollis said. “We showed great heart in the first half, great heart, but when we’re playing great football teams we’ve got to play at a high level the whole time.”
The Rams are off this week before returning to action Sept. 9 at Falkner.
“All of our goals are still in front of us,” Hollis said. “We’re going to have a great year.”
The Trojans return home Friday to host Coffeeville, who is coming off losses to ‘City and Water Valley.