MADISON, MS – The 2013 high school football season was kicked off in fine fashion last night as top-ranked Brandon marched 82 yards late in the game for a deciding touchdown and a 21-14 win over #4 Madison Central.
After reaching the 6A state championship game last year, Brandon was in new territory as this year’s preseason top-ranked team by Mississippi Gridiron and by the Clarion Ledger. An early Madison Central score had the Bulldogs on their heels as transfer quarterback Joseph Willis hit Xavier Watson for a 7-yard score.
A Brandon turnover set up the Jaguars for another potential score but the Bulldog defense held. Brandon then marched down the field and tied the score when Devin Wilson scored from three yards out.
A packed house saw MC running back Trey Smith take the following kickoff 95 yards as the Jaguars went up 14-7. Smith finished the game with 99 yards rushing on 23 carries. Brandon quarterback Gardner Minshew tied the score at 14-14 with a rushing touchdown from two yards out. Brandon had an opportunity to score before the half, but a pass to the one-yard line was called back on a penalty.
The second half took a defensive turn as both teams stiffened. Scoring opportunities were hard to come by but the Jaguars put together a drive early in the fourth quarter that ended with a missed field goal. After stopping Brandon’s next possession, the Bulldogs benefited from a roughing the kicker penalty and took advantage with a scoring drive capped off by a seven yard touchdown run by Wilson. Madison Central was stopped on downs on their following possession that ended the game.
- These are two good teams and picking a winner would be difficult should they meet again this year. I thought it was all square for most of the night with both teams trading big plays. It was sloppy as expected for a season opener, especially for Madison Central, and head coach Bobby Hall talked a lot about it after the game. Both teams have a few question marks but they should be in the playoff mix late in the season.
- Even though the game was sloppy, I saw two talented quarterbacks last night. Brandon junior Gardner Minshew has already made a name for himself and lived up to the hype late in the game after misfiring some in the first half. Minshew was 15-28 for 216 yards and a TD. I thought MC’s Joseph Willis looked very good. He’s a big kid (6’5, 225) who throws the ball well and was able to pick up some yards on the ground. He wasn’t helped by a few key drops on big plays. He’s one of the more talented MC quarterbacks in several years.
- Brandon running back Devin Wilson is a load to tackle. I don’t know what he’s listed in height and weight, but he runs like a bull and seemed to get better as the game went along. Brandon isn’t the most physical team in 6A, but he’s one of the most physical running backs. He’s probably in the 230 pound range and can move the chains.
- Junior defensive tackle Fletcher Adams had a good game for Brandon and showed why he’ll be a big recruit next season. I thought MC defensive back Jeff Pate had a great game. He’s not one of the state’s top recruits in the recruiting game, but he was All-State last year in 6A by coaches and is great with the ball in the air.
- MC’s offensive line looked good against one of the state’s better defensive lines that is stacked with three potential Division I signees. Senior tackle Jimmy Terry looked good in particular in terms of his size and athletic ability.
- Madison Central head coach Bobby Hall: “I’m very disappointed because I felt like we beat ourselves. We did some stupid things and that is coaching, that’s on me. We put some players in the right positions to make plays and they didn’t, that’s on me. We’ll be back tomorrow and look at the film. We’ll make some personnel changes and find kids who can make the plays…We’re gonna be a great team but we weren’t even an average team tonight. But hats off to Brandon and coach Peterson, they got a good win tonight.”
- Game photos will be loaded up later this weekend.