Trojans looks stay undefeated, Eagles trying to get on the board

Gerald Thomas III | Special to the TimesBrooks County quarterback Ni'tavion Burrus (8) drops back to pass during a Sept. 7 practice in Quitman.

QUITMAN –– The Brooks County Trojans (3-0) and the Mitchell County Eagles (0-2) will face off in a battle of wins and losses tonight at Veteran’s Stadium in Quitman.

After three consecutive victories decided by six points or fewer, the Trojans plan to remain unblemished by preventing the Eagles from gaining their first victory of the season.

A 4-0 start would be the best start to a season for the Trojans since their 2017-18 season, when they finished 12-2 after losing to Rabun County in the Final Four.

Last season, the Trojans began 1-3, before going 9-2 and suffering a loss against Dublin in the Class AA State Championship in Atlanta.

“We’ve got an older quarterback and running back with experience," Trojans head coach Maurice Freeman said. "We have experience on our defensive front eight. Our offensive line is slowly coming around. Our receivers all got playing time last year. All those things are helping us and resembling an experienced football team.”

Running back Omari Arnold, who received his first collegiate offer from Georgia Tech this week, feels last season’s team was well put together, but their 2020 team has the makeup to take the next step.

“Last year's team was good, but this year I feel like we’re even better," Arnold said. "We have some new lineman that are working their tails off."

The Trojans are handling their strong start on a week-to-week basis and not looking past any opponent.

Senior quarterback Ni’tavion Burrus, who has passed for 322 yards and four touchdowns, says his team must be ready to fight and prove their superiority against opponents.

“We must have that killer mentality," Burrus said at practice this week. "I know we all will fight for four quarters and cannot let teams play with us and finish. We’re not going to underestimate anybody and treat every team the same."

Senior middle linebacker Camron Priest, who leads the Trojans in tackles with 28 and tied for sacks at 4.5 with senior defensive end J’Shawn Baker, backed up Burrus’ statements.

“We’re taking it week by week and not getting ahead of ourselves," Priest said. "The key is not letting it get to our head and staying humble. If we do that and listen to our coaches, we should end up back in the state championship."

Freeman is relying on his secondary to not get beat deep by Mitchell County’s speed with junior Quentavious Hunter at quarterback and his offensive weapons of senior running back Jalen Burley and junior receiving duo of Willie Williams and Malcolm Jones.

“Speed kills and if you don’t have it, you’re going to get killed,” Freeman said. “We can’t get beat with the deep ball. Those guys are fast. We got to neutralize the speed and make sure they do not get behind us. They get up field quite a bit, so we got to control the offensive and defensive line of scrimmage, keep the quarterback in the pocket, and team tackle.”

Hunter has posted 421 passing yards and three touchdowns on nearly a 60 percent completion percentage.

Burley averages 86 rushing yards per game with one touchdown on the season. Williams and Jones have combined for 19 receptions, 358 yards and a touchdown.

Freeman also wants to utilize Arnold who has rushed for 380 yards and three touchdowns through three games.

“I think there’s some things we can do in the run game that can make it special for us,” Freeman said.

Arnold is ready for the challenge of a big performance, knowing that there’s team chomping at the bit to knock off the undefeated Trojans.

“We got to take everybody seriously since we’re No. 1. Everybody is aiming at us," Arnold said after practice. “I’ve prepared for these moments by getting bigger in the weight room and getting way faster than last year.”

Tonight's game kicks off at 7:30.

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