By Robert Wilson
In 2012, sophomore quarterback Gardner Minshew led Brandon to a 12-3 record and a MSHAA Class 6A runner-up finish. Minshew is now playing in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Nine years later, there’s another sophomore quarterback at Brandon making noise, especially Friday night when he led Brandon to a come-from-behind, last-second victory.
In only his third high school game and first home game, Landon Varnes completed 16 of 27 passes (59.2 percent) for 251 yards and three touchdowns, including a 26-yard TD pass to Devin Thigpen with 3 seconds to play for a 31-24 victory over Clinton at Brandon.
For his outstanding performance, Varnes has been named the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Football Player of the Week.
Brandon won its first game of the season after losses to two of the best teams in Class 6A, a 24-17 loss at 2020 MHSAA 6A state runner-up Oxford in the season opener and a 42-19 loss at Madison Central, one of the favorites to win the 6A state championship.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Varnes completed TD passes of 37 yards in the second quarter and 36 yards in the third quarter, both to Thigpen, in addition to their game-winning play. Brandon battled back from deficits of 16-7 at halftime and 24-17 after three quarters.
Varnes completed 12 of 27 passes for 134 yards and one TD against Oxford and 11 of 22 passes for 118 yards and one TD against Madison Central.
“Landon is a young football player who is starting to develop into a really good quarterback,” first-year Brandon coach Sam Williams said. “Landon is a great competitor who elevates the people around him with his energy and personality. Landon made some huge plays for us during the second half that carried the team to victory. He and Devin hooked up for three TDs on the night on one our staple pass plays. I thought Landon did a great job all night of recognizing his mistakes, making adjustments, and helping his team to victory.”
Brandon’s next game is Sept. 24 at Terry in its first Class 6A, Region 3 game of the season.
Mississippi Scoreboard selects a football player from Hinds, Madison, or Rankin counties each week. Coaches can nominate a player by text or call to Robert Wilson at 601.506.2276 or email [email protected].