Game photos can be viewed here.
The Pulaski Academy Bruins played their first home game of the season at Joe B. Hatcher Stadium against the back-to-back 6A Mississippi defending state champions, the Patriots of Madison Ridgeland Academy. Head coach Herbert Davis is now in his 8th season and has taken the school to the state title game six of the last seven years. Pulaski Academy is 4-1 in its previous five games against out of state competition, including a perfect 3-0 in 2020.
MRA got into Bruin territory on its first drive crossing midfield to the 46, but PA held strong on 4th and 7 to begin its first offensive possession.
The Bruins got the ball and after a no gain on a catch by Northwestern commit Joe Himon, he responded with an immediate 32-yard reception then runs of 5, 9, and then an 8-yard score putting PA up 8-0 in what would be the beginning of a career night.
On the ensuing drive, the Bruin defense did just about as much as you could ask with three straight sacks from Romelo Bell, Ben Smiley, and Joseph Osment, respectively. Quarterback Charlie Fiser brought the PA offense back out and put together what was looking like a promising 13-play drive that ultimately stalled on 4th down.
MRA scored its first points on the second play of the second quarter on a 2-yard run by Tylor Latham cutting the Bruin lead to 8-7. Himon got the Bruins going quick on the following drive with a 35-yard reception, but the Patriots were able to hold after that, shutting down PA four plays later on 4th and 5.
Dale Pignio picked up the slack soon after sacking Patriot quarterback John White for an 8-yard loss on 1st and 10, recovering a fumble on the next play. The Bruins got down the the Patriot 1 and Himon was set to take a direct snap, but it went over his head for a loss of 15 yards. Two plays later Fiser found Himon crossing the field and hit him for the score and a 16-7 advantage.
MRA struck back quick when Rivers Godwin got behind the PA defense and White found him wide open for a 64-yard score to put PA’s lead at 16-14. The fast-pace continued only taking four plays for the Bruins to score again on a 26-yard connection from Fiser to Jaylin Mckinney. PA extended the lead again to two scores, 24-14. Godwin was able to find the end zone again soon after from 23 yards to cut the Bruin lead to a FG 24-21.
The Patriots were able to score again taking advantage of a Bruin 4 and out on their next drive with a 30-yard throw and catch between White and Southern Miss commit Davis Dalton, taking their first lead of the game 28-24.
That would not last long. Highlighted by a 42-yard reception by Mckinney, Himon capped the drive with a 12-yard score, his 3rd of the game, regaining the lead for PA 31-28. Defense would step up for the Bruins yet again only allowing two plays by MRA before Ben Smiley recovered a fumble on the PA 40.
The next series got a little chippy when Patriot linebacker Stone Blanton, a Mississippi State baseball commit, hit Fiser while he was on the ground after a 7-yard run resulting in a penalty. Blanton and Himon shared some words and not that he needed it, but Himon got some extra motivation and used it scoring from 29 yards two plays later piling on the Bruin lead 39-28 :40 before the half.
The Bruins received the kickoff in the second half and continued to produce strong drives capping a 10-play, 45-yard touchdown to Jaylin Mckinney moving the score to 46-28 with 10:43 left.
MRA may have been down, but they weren’t out. Running back J.J. Latham pounded in from a yard out and with the successful 2-point conversion it was a 10 point game 36-26.
The Patriots would score one last time on a 32-yard field goal by Landin Mcgee getting within a touchdown, 46-39, but it was all Bruins after that.
Himon caught a 55-yard touchdown pass turning on the jets to score, but his last touchdown would be one of the bigger plays we have ever seen from him: he took the handoff on the Bruin 6, went left and he appeared to be down. He broke through some tackles and darted 94 yards down the MRA sideline to put this game on ice. Bruins head coach Anthony Lucas knew his star back was not going to go down: “I kept saying he’s not down, he’s not down, he’s not down,” Lucas mentioned. “You ain’t going to catch him from behind, I don’t care how tired he is.”
Himon’s electric play would give the Bruins 60 with the 2-point conversion and Vaughn Seelicke would kick a field goal to add the game’s final points 63-39.
The Bruins (2-0) will travel to Nashville next week to take on the Lipscomb Academy.
Article published by Kyle Sutherland, @k_sutherlandHTP on Twitter