It has only happened twice in the last six years, and it took a clutch drive with a most unusual ending to achieve it last Friday night.
When Bruce running-back Demetris “Meat” Evans was unearthed from the bottom of the pile of mostly Ackerman Indians at the goal line with the football still gripped tightly in his hands and zeroes on the game-clock, the Trojans had come away with an improbable victory and capped a perfect Friday for Calhoun County.
That’s because on the same night Calhoun City had mostly man-handled Eupora by a 20-6 score. Vardaman thoroughly dominated Smithville in a 31-0 win. And Calhoun Academy won their third straight defeating Calvary Christian 42-34.
The last time all four schools had won on the same Friday was October 2007. By coincidence, Bruce defeated Ackerman that Friday as well by a 14-0 score. Calhoun Academy topped Macon Central 21-7. The Wildcats bullied Biggersville 45-7 and Vardaman won a tight contest at West Lowndes 21-16.
You have to go back to 2005 to find another time it happened. It actually occurred on three Friday nights that season.
While the Cougars, Wildcats and Rams won their games with relative ease last Friday, the Trojan victory wasn’t secured until the final play of the game.
A clutch 35-yard field goal by Ackerman’s Roman Ramirez with 2:45 remaining had the Trojans on the brink of defeat. While the Ackerman side of the field was screaming with the anticipation of victory, the Bruce crowd looked like their hearts had dropped into their socks.
On the final play of the game, Bruce QB Davis Brown was stuffed at the goalline, but it took everyone a few seconds to realize the ball was actually lying on the goalline at their feet. That’s when Demetris Evans (2) spotted it and dove across the pile for the game-winning recovery. Photo by Joel McNeece
A poor kickoff that gave Bruce the ball at their own 44-yard line breathed a little hope back into the Blue and Gold. Bruce QB Davis Brown said after the game they believed as soon as they huddled up on the field they were going to win.
“I told the line to just keep blocking,” Brown said. “We’re going to get down there. We never got in a panic. We knew we could still win it.”
There weren’t any big plays on the drive. It was Tom Brady-like – 10-yards at a time. A 5-yard run by Zay Armstrong, a 5-yard pass to Evans, five more to Jarvis “Maine” Tillman, a clutch third down catch by Reed Gregory – the Trojans kept marching.
With four seconds left, they sat at the 1-yard line with one final play to try and get in for the win. Brown attempted a sneak from the one on the final play of the first half and was stuffed. He tried it again on third down from the one with 16 seconds left in the game and again ran into a brick wall. On the final play of the game he tried once more and was again stopped in his tracks, but on the hard lick at the goal line by three Ackerman tacklers, the ball was jarred loose from Brown’s grasp and dropped unbeknownst to most between all their legs. For what seemed like an eternity, the ball just sat there on the goal line. Evans was the first to spot it from behind the pile and dove over the top of the bodies to try and pull in the pigskin. Most every other player on the field was a split second behind him.
Officials peeled players off the pile like layers from an onion in search of the football. Underneath it all was “Meat” clutching the ball in a bear hug.
“There were a lot of people fighting for that ball, but I dove over a couple of people and got it first,” Evans said. “I wasn’t going to let it go.”
He raced to midfield with the ball held high over his head to insure everyone in the stadium saw it. The Bruce bleachers and sideline were euphoric.
It was one of those rarest of Fridays – perfection for Calhoun County.
Email Joel McNeece at firstname.lastname@example.org