MHSAA 2A football semifinals preview: East Union eyes first North State title

The MHSAA North and South Championships are finally here, and the 2A matchups feature one first-time contender, the defending state champs and two teams looking for redemption. Here’s a look at the 2A football games set for this Friday night.

2A North

East Union (10-1) at Calhoun City (9-2)

PICK THE WINNER | 2A FOOTBALL BRACKET

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

East Union
Round 1: Beat O’Bannon 57-6
Round 2: Beat J.Z. George 30-28
Round 3: Beat North Side 26-22

Calhoun City
Round 1: Beat Riverside 44-6
Round 2: Beat Mantachie 60-13
Round 3: Beat East Webster 30-15

KEY PLAYERS

East Union
QB Rett Johnson — 25 of 55 for 701 yards, 6 TD
RB Colton Plunk — 196 carries, 1,829 yards, 32 TD
WR/DB Micah Fulgham — 16 catches, 254 yards, 3 total TD, 21 tackles, 4 TFL

Calhoun City
QB Jackson Lee — 63 of 117 for 1,019 yards, 12 TD, 451 rushing yards, 5 TD
RB/DB Jaylon Artberry — 1,179 total yards, 18 TD, 34 tackles, 1 INT
LB Kajarrious Connor — 38 tackles, 7 TFL, 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF, 1 FR

THE SKINNY:

East Union is in uncharted territory after knocking off North Side thanks to an interception return and a 49-yard touchdown pass late in the game. The Urchins are playing for their first North State title in school history.

They’ll face a Calhoun City team that bounced back from two early season losses and is averaging 37.6 points over the last eight games of the season.

The Urchins have a big offensive line for a 2A team, and run the ball extremely well with tailback Colton Plunk. They have given up a respectable 214 points in 10 games, but 42 of those came in a Week 3-loss to East Webster, which lost to Calhoun City 30-15 last week.

Calhoun City was determined to be in this position this season after falling just short in a 6-3 loss to Charleston in the third round last year. Let’s see if the Wildcats are still hungry for more.

PICK THE WINNER | 2A FOOTBALL BRACKET

2A South

Enterprise-Clarke (10-1) at Taylorsville (12-1)

PICK THE WINNER | 2A FOOTBALL BRACKET

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Enterprise-Clarke
Round 1: Beat West Lincoln 42-16
Round 2: Beat Newton 38-16
Round 3: Beat Scott Central 21-14

Taylorsville
Round 1: Beat Enterprise-Lincoln 55-8
Round 2: Beat Philadelphia 47-6
Round 3: Beat Union 65-37

KEY PLAYERS

Enterprise-Clarke
RB/DB Kristian Milsap — 1,203 total yards, 15 TD, 17 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 FR
RB/LB John Campbell — 805 total yards, 9 TD, 39 tackles, 6 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 FF
RB/DB Daniel Swain — 349 total yards, 5 TD, 23 tackles, 3 INT

Taylorsville
QB Ty Keyes — 115 of 170 for 2,219 yards, 26 TD, 28 carries, 444 yards, 4 TD
RB Jeff Pittman — 1,135 total yards, 17 TD
DB Dereco Crosby — 10 tackles, 6 INT

THE SKINNY:

This one’s a replay of a matchup we saw play out back on Oct. 16. Taylorsville pulled out the win after scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns to hold off a fierce rally from Enterprise.

As he has been all season, Taylorsville quarterback Ty Keyes was phenomenal in that game, passing for 223 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 131 and another score. On the other side, the Bulldogs’ splendid tailback Kristian Milsap rushed 30 times for 167 yards and three touchdowns.

The rematch should be just as entertaining, because both teams have rolled to this point in the playoffs. The Bulldogs have a combined score of 101-46 in three playoff games, and the Tartars have outscored their three opponents 167-51.

It’s a long shot at this point, but Keyes needs 900 more passing yards to break former St. Stanislaus quarterback Myles Brennan’s career passing yardage record of 15,138 yards and 15 more touchdown passes to break that career record, also held by Brennan.

PICK THE WINNER | 2A FOOTBALL BRACKET

(Feature photo by Keith Warren)

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