• John Macon Gillespie

Coverage Recap: Vardaman 41 Bruce 13

The Vardaman Rams picked up their first win of the season on Friday night over county-rival Bruce. The Rams outgunned the Trojans to the tune of a 41-13 final score, marking the first time that Vardaman has defeated Bruce in back-to-back seasons since 2009 and 2010.

Other than a three-and-out to start the game offensively and an early Bruce score, the Rams owned most of the game. Once Vardaman pulled ahead 13-7 in the first quarter, the Rams were pretty much in the driver’s seat and went on to score four more touchdowns on the evening. Bruce did, however, hold the Rams scoreless in the third quarter, thanks in large part to a few Vardaman turnovers and penalties.

Vardaman was led by tailback and cornerback Patrick Pratt who accounted for three touchdowns on the evening: two rushing and one interception return. Pratt’s pick six was the 15th interception of his career, including two so far in 2017. For the most part, the Vardaman offense moved the ball with relative ease, save for a few drives stalled by penalties or halted by turnovers. Senior quarterback Trae Owen threw his first touchdown pass of the season to the speedy Kody Townsend who raced 50+ yards to pay dirt. The Rams also had strong defensive showings from names like Zack Berry and Wendarius Townsend who made multiple appearances in the Trojan backfield.

For the Trojans, there is obviously work to be done, but the potential to have a successful team is there. The young talent showcased by Bruce can progress into a strong football team, but it will take time and learning. Many of Bruce’s woes on Friday came from penalties on offense that stalled drives and missed alignments and assignments. These mental mistakes are indicative of a young team but can be fixed with practice and time. Quarterback Trent Hall is still learning the signal-caller position but has a host of weapons around him that can make him successful, including a strong running game highlighted by Dee Cullins, Stone Lindley and Jay Collins. Once the pieces of the Bruce roster come together and the mistakes are erased, Bruce could be a dangerous team.

Vardaman defeating Bruce shows how far this Rams program has come in the last three seasons. The Rams rebounded well after a blowout loss to South Pontotoc and played with fire and enthusiasm indicative of a rivalry game. The main issues for Vardaman going forward will be staying healthy and limiting turnovers, two things that will be crucial with region play just two weeks away.

The win for Vardaman this week boosts the Rams to 1-1 on the year with a game against the Coldwater Cougars on the horizon. Bruce falls to 0-2 and will have their home opener next week against the Coffeeville Pirates.

#Vardaman #Bruce #JohnMaconGillespie

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