The Eagles, at 11-2, will be looking to advance to the north half title game for a fourth consecutive year as they travel to Bruce to play the Bruce High School Trojans. West Bolivar is currently riding an eight game winning streak.
West Bolivar head coach Henry Johnson said he is pleased with the intensity of the team.
“We’re a lot more focused,” Johnson said. “This is the time of the year where you’ve got to be focused, and we’re a lot more focused that what we were at the early part of the season. You can see it in their eyes. They are ready to go.”
The Trojans, at 10-3, will try to advance to the north half title game for the first time since 1999. Bruce has made the state playoffs 18 times, all since 1990, with a state championship (1996).
Both teams have contrasting styles on offense.
The Eagles rely heavily on a strong running game with the occasional pass mixed in the playbook. West Bolivar got a strong performance last week from senior running back Kailo Moore as he rushed for 278 yards with two touchdowns on just 15 carries in the Eagles’ 37-15 second round win over the Ackerman Indians. For the year, he has rushed for 1,099 yards with 16 touchdowns on just 104 carries. Senior running back Trevoris Hampton (101 carries, 795 yards, 18 TDs) and senior fullback William Lloyd (100 carries, 611 yards, 8 TDs) have also helped anchor the ground game. The Eagles have also done a good job passing the ball as Kylan Johnson (73-of-136, 1,340 yards with 16 TDs, 2 Ints) has had a good year. Johnson’s primary receiving target has been Dennis Pendleton (19 catches, 553 yards, 6 TDs). West Bolivar has scored an average of 36.9 points per game this year.
Bruce does run the football, but relies on a strong passing game. Senior quarterback Davis Brown has had a monster year by completing 146-of-232 passes for 2,623 yards with 35 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. His main targets at wide receiver have been Shaq Bush (51 catches, 881 yards, 10 TDs) and Rashad Turner (32 catches, 676 yards, 10 TDs). Bruce has scored an average of 38.4 points per game this year.
Johnson said the defense can’t give Brown time to throw the ball.
“You’ve got to pressure the quarterback, and we can’t give up the big plays,” Johnson said. “That’s the only way we can do it.”
On defense, both teams look strong on that side of the football. West Bolivar has given up 14.4 points per game, while Bruce has yielded 9.9 points a contest.
Senior linebacker William Lloyd has led the Eagles with 128 tackles, followed by senior linebacker Kawonski Williams (101 tackles, 1 Int.) and junior defensive lineman Ladarius Tucker (80 tackles, 5 sacks).
Senior linebacker Jonathan Bobo has led the Trojans’ defense with 130 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions, followed by senior defensive end Deshawn Tillman (114 tackles, 2 sacks).
The winner of the West Bolivar-Bruce game will play the winner of the Calhoun City-Eupora game next week for the 2A North Half Title.