Like he watched Cade Shepherd do many times over the past three seasons, Rouse Boyce delivered in the clutch Friday night for Tri-County Academy.
Boyce completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Joseph Sones for the game winner with 17 seconds to play for a 23-22 victory over Riverfield, La., in a rematch of last year’s MAIS Class 4A state championship game.
Boyce completed 17 of 31 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns in the win and for his superb performance has been named the Mississippi Scoreboard Football Metro Jackson Player of the Week.
Shepherd, now playing at Hinds Community College, was Mr. Everything, including quarterback, for Tri-County for the past three seasons, leading the Rebels to 27 wins and two state runner-up finishes. He was named to the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard All Metro Jackson team as a defensive back last season.
Boyce, a 5-foot-10, 150-pound junior, has taken over Shepherd’s role as starting quarterback this season. Boyce led Tri-County to the win over Riverfield, a team which gave the Rebels two of their three losses last season, a 50-49 loss in the regular season and a 29-22 loss in the state title game.
Boyce completed a 61-yard TD pass to Eli Hamlin on his second pass attempt and a 27-yard TD pass to Kamp Shepherd, Chad’s brother, in the first half. Hamlin caught nine passes for 150 yards.
Boyce completed his last five passes, all five on the winning, 96-yard scoring drive. He connected with Ty Milner for a 53-yard pass play to get into Riverfield territory. Then Rouse completed a 12-yard pass to Kamp Shepherd to set up the winning score to Sones, his only catch of the game.
“I’m proud of Rouse,” second-year Tri-County coach Philip Wasson said. “He grew up a lot of that last drive. One minute, 17 seconds left on the clock with no timeouts (when the drive started). Ninety-six yards in five plays. Last drive was well executed and Rouse was lights out.”