BRANDON — It came down to the very end, but the Brandon Bulldogs finally nailed a pelt to the wall.
Brandon’s B.J. Morrow recovered a Clinton fumble with 33 seconds left, and three plays later, Bulldog quarterback Landon Varnes found Devin Thigpen in the front corner of the end zone with three seconds left to lift Brandon over the No. 8 Arrows 31-24 in a thriller at Bulldog Stadium on Friday night.
“It was a play we ran all night with a post and a wheel route and it had worked all night, so that’s something we’d come back too,” said first year Brandon coach Sam Williams. “Landon is just a competitor and he kept his eyes downfield and made a play.”
The Bulldogs (1-2) scored two touchdowns in the final 81 seconds to win.
Jarvis Durr scored on a 20-yard with 1:21 left in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 24.
Varnes and Thigpen connected two other times for touchdowns earlier in the game.
The first score came on a 37-yarder on deep slant with 9:54 left in the second quarter to give Brandon a 7-6 lead.
The second one came on a 36-yarder on a wheel route with 40 seconds left in the third quarter to cut the Clinton lead to 24-17.
“Didn’t want to make a mistake, but just kept the play alive and Devin made a heckuva play,” Varnes said. “We knew they gave us that coverage and the play worked all night, so it worked. This win means a lot with district play coming up.”
Varnes finished the night 16 of 28 passing for 239 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
Thigpen had five catches for 95 yards with three scores.
“When they called the play in the huddle, I knew I had a chance to make the play,” Thigpen said. “We came out, and when I saw him scrambling I just started jumping up and when he threw it I came down with it. The ball felt like it was coming in slow motion and was in the air a long time. This is a big win for us because we played three tough teams and we can get better from here.”
The Bulldogs had lost to No. 2 Oxford and No. 3 Madison the two previous weeks.
Jakobe Calvin had two rushing touchdowns and a 63-yard touchdown catch to lead the Arrows. Jordyn Battee had 149 yards passing with a touchdown for the Arrows (1-2).
“Second half we made a lot of mistakes, and in 6A football it’s all about preparation, focus and execution and we didn’t do that,” said Clinton coach Judd Boswell. “They made the plays, and we didn’t. It’s a learning experience and we will bounce back and get ready for district.”