BRUCE-The South Pontotoc Cougars notched their first win of the season Friday, as they knocked off Bruce 22-6 on the road.
South controlled all areas of the game, from start to finish.
“The kids played really hard,” said South Pontotoc coach Rod Cook. “They had a good week of practice and put everything together tonight. We have some mistakes we have to clean up, but we are going in the right direction.”
South (1-3) ate up a big chunk of the first quarter with a 74-yard drive. Braxton Morphis carried six times for 61 yards, and Zac Patterson had a 13-yard reception from quarterback Clayton Heatherly. A touchdown run from Trace Ash was called back due to a holding penalty, and the drive ultimately ended with a missed field goal. The tone of the night was set, however.
Bruce gained some yardage through penalties on their first possession before Chase Long tackled Jaeden Brown for a big loss to help force a punt.
Mickelle Dawson and Trace Ash had nice runs for the Cougars before an unsportsmanlike conduct call, after the Trojans had stopped South on third down, kept the drive going. Dawson rumbled for 24 yards on the first snap of the second quarter, and Morphis then found the end zone on a 10-yard run. Noah Fleming added the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
Bruce mounted a nice drive to set up a 1st and goal before the South defense stiffened and came up with a big stop. Kenneth Waters had a tackle in the backfield, Dawson wrapped up a ball carrier at the line of scrimmage, and Heatherly broke up a pass to the end zone on 4th and goal from the two.
Later in the second quarter, the Cougars were forced to punt from the end zone, giving the Trojans great field position at the South 32-yard line. A tackle in the backfield by Waters, and two sacks by Dawson were key plays to South forcing another turnover on downs.
The Trojans went three-and-out on their first possession of the third quarter. They tried a fake punt, but it was snuffed out well short of the first down marker.
South got the ball at the Bruce 30 and took advantage. Morphis ripped off a 21-yard gain, and four plays later Dawson plowed for a 1-yard TD. Ash ran in the two-point conversion on a direct snap, and the Cougars led 15-0 with 7:22 remaining in the third.
Long dropped Bruce’s Bryce Armstrong in the backfield on 4th and 3 to end another Trojan drive. Soon after that Heatherly connected with Joe Haze Austin for a 25-yard touchdown pass, capping a 57-yard drive for the Cougars. Noah Fleming’s extra point put South up 22-0 with 1:24 left in the third quarter.
A 63-yard kickoff return gave the Trojans another good scoring chance, but the Cougar defense proved stingy again, forcing their second turnover on downs inside their own 10-yard line. Bruce put up a late touchdown against mostly reserves when the game was long out of reach, with quarterback Austin Plunk scoring on a 6-yard run with 1:25 left.
South travels to Tishomingo County on Friday.