OCEAN SPRINGS — Brandon is headed back to The Rock, but it took some last-second heroics to get them there.
Will Elliott connected on a 29-yard field goal has time expired to lift the Bulldogs past Ocean Springs 34-31 in the MHSAA Class 6A South State Championship at Hugh Pepper Field on Friday night.
Brandon (12-1) will face Starkville for the MHSAA Class 6A State Championship on Saturday at Southern Miss’ M.M. Roberts Stadium.
“I feel like we got the best two-minute offense in the state just because that’s how we operate," said Brandon coach Sam Williams. " And Will to have the stones to make that kick at the end is big, We hadn’t made a screen call all game and Quincy made a heckuva play and Lester made a big play on the deep ball.”
With the game tied 31-31, Brandon got down to the Ocean Springs 35-yard line with just under two minutes left, but Bray Hubbard intercepted a pass at the Greyhound 25-yard line with 1:39 remaining.
The Greyhounds moved the ball down to the Brandon 42-yard line until J.P. Coulter fumbled and Brandon’s Preston Ashley recovered with 25 seconds left at the Bulldog 36-yard line.
Brandon then got back-to-back 26-yard pass plays from Landon Varnes to Quincy Phillips on the first play and to Lester Miller on the second play to set up the game winning 29-yard field goal with 3 seconds left by Elliott.
“We knew we had to go make some plays to win the game and that’s what we did," Varnes said. "Made plays in the right moment to win the gam. We knew it was going to be a four-quarter dog fight, and we knew we were the underdogs, but we had to come out here and do what we do. Going back to the Rock and we’ve been there before, but we're going to finish it this time.”
Varnes finished 18-of-27 for 348 yards with two touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs offensively. Nate Blount had 37 carries for 187 yards with two touchdowns for Brandon.
“We talked all week that we were going to be physical, and we had to hit the big kill shots and we hit them,” Williams said. “We’re going to The Rock and I’m super proud of these guys for how hard they’ve worked, and now we've got to finish.”
Brandon receiver Lester Miller had 7 catches for 221 yards with two touchdowns.
“Coach had it the game plan that we were going to throw deep balls, and we executed,” Miller said. “On the last play, we had me in a one-on-one and I went up and made the play.”
Hubbard, an Alabama commit, had 130 yards rushing on 22 carries with a touchdown and went 12-of-18 passing for 106 yards to lead Ocean Springs.
Will Gray had three rushing touchdowns for the Greyhounds (12-1).
“The margin is so small when it comes to making plays and we turned the ball over twice and they recovered two onside kicks and that’s too much to overcome,” said Ocean Springs coach Blake Pennock. “They made adjustments on defense and limited us in the second half and made us one-dimensional and credit to them.”