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Photos by Jared Thomas
Story By Robert Wilson
First-year Brandon coach Sam Williams said he was looking forward to many years of Bulldog victories over Pearl in the Rankin County Super Bowl.
He got his first one, and it was impressive.
Brandon rolled to a 38-7 victory over Pearl for its eighth consecutive win this season Thursday night at Brandon.
Brandon, 8-2 and the No. 1 seed from Class 6A, Region 3, now moves on to the playoffs and plays host to Harrison Central, the No. 4 seed from Region 4, next week in the first round. Pearl, 7-4 and the No. 4 seed from Region 2, travels to 10-0 Ocean Springs, the No. 1 seed from Region 4, in the first round.
Brandon now leads the series with Pearl 44-26-1 in one of the oldest high school football rivalries in Mississippi. The first meeting was in 1949 and ended in a 0-0 tie. The two teams have played each other every year except for 1953 and 1954. Brandon has won 11 of the last 16 meetings with three of those losses in overtime.
Brandon sophomore quarterback Landon Varnes completed the two first-half touchdown passes, the first one 22 yards to junior Jevon Durr and the second one 52 yards to junior Devin Thigpen. Junior Jarvis Durr ran for a 4-yard TD and sophomore Nate Blount ran for a 52-yard TD for a 28-0 lead in the second quarter. Justin Moore intercepted a pass and returned it 85 yards for Pearl’s only score to cut the lead to 28-7 at half.
Jalen Bullard kicked a 37-yard field goal and Jarvis Durr ran for a 13-yard TD for a 38-7 lead in the third quarter.
“I thought our kids played extremely hard last night,” Williams said. “Coming off of the NWR game where we did not play very well, I wanted to see us respond and respond we did. The kids came out, played with heart, kept their emotions in check, and played a complete game. It is always good to beat your rivals in that fashion and dominate the game from start to finish. I’m really proud of our effort, mentality, and execution last night.”