Burns’ skills in the clutch were evident last week as he scored the game-winning touchdown and 2-point conversion in the Trojans’ 26-24 win over the Water Valley Blue Devils in the second round of the 3A State Football Playoffs.
On Friday night, Burns came through with some last quarter magic again as he intercepted a pass and threw a game-winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to give the Trojans a 6-5 win in a defensive struggle against the Byhalia Indians at Byhalia in the third round of the playoffs. East Side (14-0), will take on Charleston (13-1) for the 3A North Half Title at Leroy Byars Field in Cleveland this Friday. Charleston hammered Aberdeen 49-22 to advance to the North Half Title game.
The winner will go to the 3A State Title game and play the winner of the East Marion-Hazlehurst South Half Title game on Dec. 1 at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson at 11 a.m.
“This is going to be the biggest game in East Side history,” Trojans head football coach Roger Burton said about the upcoming game with Charleston. “This is a huge game. It’s North Half at home, and we’ve got a chance.”
Byhalia was able to get a safety and a field goal in the first half to take a 5-0 lead at halftime. The Trojans struggled to get any momentum going on offense, but the defense continued to keep them in the game.
In the fourth quarter, Burns came up with a huge play as he intercepted a pass to give East Side the ball at around midfield. The Trojans’ offense were able to drive the ball down the field. Burns, who was playing under center at quarterback in the wildcat formation, connected with Kamien Lucas on a 13-yard touchdown pass with just under four minutes to play to put East Side up 6-5. The touchdown would be all that East Side needed as the team was able to hold on for the victory.
“They had a good defensive team,” Burton said about Byhalia. “We were built about the same. We found a way to win. That’s all that matters.”
Burns had another good all around game as he rushed for 47 yards on nine carries and completed both of his passes for 17 yards on offense. Lucas caught his two passes for 17 receiving yards. On defense, Burns also recorded five tackles, including the interception that would set up the game winning drive.
“Burns is a special player — special,” Burton added.
On offense, East Side rushed for 178 yards on 30 carries. Quadre Butler aided the Trojans running the football as he rushed for a team-high 70 yards on 12 carries, followed by Jaylen Thomas with 40 yards on five carries.
On defense, Michael Hurns and Edgar Eatmon flexed their muscles for the Trojans. Eatmon recorded five tackles including three sacks with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, while Hurns racked up a team-high 10 tackles.